SDLP Leader of the Opposition Matthew O’Toole MLA has urged caretaker Ministers to treat the cost of living crisis which has affecting every household in Northern Ireland with the same urgency as the Covid-19 crisis.
The South Belfast MLA said that Ministers should urgently appoint a Cost of Living Taskforce made up of senior officials and sectoral experts to coordinate a whole-government response to surging fuel, food and energy bills.
The Opposition Leader said that Ministers should provide a regular update to the public on the actions taken by each department to mitigate the effects of the crisis on working families and those most in need of support.
Matthew O’Toole MLA said:
“Months into the most severe cost of living crisis that most of us can remember, I am concerned that caretaker Ministers are not showing any urgency or bringing forward any new proposals on how to mitigate the impact of soaring food, fuel and energy costs.
“Every political party made big promises to get support directly into the pockets of those affected by the crisis but as autumn and winter begin to loom large in the minds of many struggling to make ends meet, there has been no decisive action taken by local Ministers.
“In our view, caretaker Ministers should be treating the cost of living crisis with the same urgency as the Covid-19 emergency. They need to pull out all the stops to help households across all of our communities where people need support now. Spending is happening in government departments every week, some of it at risk as a result of the failure to establish an Executive - we need to see that spend directed to support people now.
“The first step should be to convene an emergency Cost of Living Taskforce made up of senior officials and sectoral experts to coordinate a whole-government response to surging fuel, food and energy bills. Ministers should also provide regular updates to the public on the actions that their departments have taken to mitigate the impact of this crisis. People deserve to know what political leaders are doing to tackle the most pressing crisis facing people in all of our communities.”