SDLP South Belfast MLA Matthew O’Toole has said the DUP cannot be allowed to hold up support for families struggling as a result of rising costs.
He was speaking after the British government announced a financial support package to help people dealing with the cost of living crisis.
People in the North and Britain will receive a £400 discount on energy bills this winter, but it is unclear how people here will receive it due to the lack of an Executive.
Mr O’Toole urged the DUP to return to the Executive when the Assembly is recalled on Monday.
South Belfast MLA Mr O’Toole said:
“The financial support package and windfall tax on energy companies announced by the British government today is welcome, if long overdue. We have been calling for a windfall tax for some time and a £400 energy bill discount would be a crucial lifeline to struggling families across the North. People who are dealing with spiralling food, fuel and energy bills need this funding, but once again it is shrouded in uncertainty for people here due to the DUP’s refusal to do its job.
“There are people in our community whose everyday life is a struggle. Families who cannot afford to put food on the table, who skip meals to feed their children and pensioners forced to wear extra clothes in cold houses in a vain attempt to keep warm. The DUP needs to look these people in the eye and tell them why they won’t return to government so that people can receive this vital support.
“There is well over £300m in Stormont bank accounts in addition to this extra funding announced today and it could make a real difference. The only obstacle in getting this support out to people comes from the DUP. I’m urging them to do the right thing and support the election of Patsy McGlone as Speaker and return to the Executive on Monday. Every day is crucial when it comes to getting money into people’s pockets and protecting them from this crisis.”