The UK Government must provide a fiscal guarantee to protect public services in Northern Ireland from the consequences and costs of the Tory/DUP induced protocol chaos, SDLP Stormont leader Matthew O’Toole MLA has said ahead of the Chancellor’s Fiscal Statement tomorrow (17th November).
The London Government has abetted the DUP’s walkout from devolved government according to the South Belfast MLA which he says places an obligation on the Chancellor to provide fiscal cover for a £650m black hole in devolved finances which will, without corrective action, deal a blow to next year’s block grant.
The SDLP’s Cost of Living spokesperson has also called for action to deliver urgent support for families in Northern Ireland who have yet to receive the benefit of the UK Government’s energy price support scheme and where support for oil central heating has, to date, been pitifully weak.
Matthew O’Toole MLA said:
“The Chancellor’s fiscal statement is an opportunity for the UK Government to finally acknowledge its role in aiding and abetting the DUP’s shameless abdication of responsibility to govern by providing fiscal cover for the consequences and costs of the reckless decision to abandon devolution at a time of crisis in public services.
“We are facing a £650m black hole in public finances which will, without corrective action, lead to devastating cuts to the block grant next year placing further pressure on public services already stretched to their limit. What we need is a fiscal guarantee from the Chancellor that the people of Northern Ireland will not be left to pay the price for the Tory/DUP induced protocol chaos.
“The Chancellor also needs to step up the support available to families here struggling with the cost of surviving. Consumer Council figures show that low income families are left with around £20 per week after essential bills are paid and yet people are still waiting on support with energy bills. Those same households, many reliant on home heating oil, have been all but abandoned by the UK Government with no serious effort to provide help. The SDLP proposal for 1000l of home heating oil for every family should be given serious consideration by the Treasury as a quick way to protect people this winter.”