SDLP Cost of Living Spokesperson Matthew O’Toole has said the return of inflation to 10.1% shows the scale of the challenge facing families this winter.
Mr O’Toole said he was seriously concerned that many people would struggle to afford heating and groceries, with a further rise in inflation anticipated.
The Leader of the Opposition said it was disgraceful that communities in the North were being failed by the DUP’s refusal to do their jobs, an imploding Tory party and the looming prospect of an Assembly election.
South Belfast MLA Mr O’Toole said:
“I am extremely concerned at how families across Northern Ireland are going to get through this winter with food prices seeing the biggest rise in decades and energy bills soaring without adequate support in place. The result is we are hearing more and more reports of parents skipping meals and people refusing to turn on their heating despite temperatures dropping.
“It’s deeply regrettable that at a time of such acute emergency and need for so many we are talking about an Assembly election in December, instead of the best way we can support the people who elected parties just months ago who promised to protect them during the cost of living crisis. When people need leadership from their politicians, we instead have a Tory government in meltdown, too distracted by its own incompetence to help people here, and the DUP who block us from helping people to pursue a doomed attempt to reverse the result of where their hard-Brexit agenda had led them.
“Families are worried about what the next few months will bring, prices are set to increase further and the majority here who rely on home heating oil have been offered a derisory £100 electricity bill discount to get them through it. Instead of preparing for an election when people are going cold and hungry, we should be doing everything within our power to implement proposals like the SDLP’s 1000 litres of home heating oil voucher scheme to actually help people who need it.”