The Alliance Party has stepped up its campaign to urge the Economy Minister to take action for businesses and workers who currently don’t qualify for financial aid as the impact of Covid-19 continues.
Stewart Dickson MLA and Andrew Muir MLA raised the issue in the Assembly today, following a special meeting with the Minister last week calling on her to recognise once and for all those who have been ignored to date.
Speaking after a debate in the Assembly, Stewart Dickson said: “Time and time again the Economy Minister’s go-to move is to ignore those most in need. Rather than take the time to listen and assess, she just ploughs on with her own agenda regardless of the impact it has on people in need across Northern Ireland.
“From the start of this pandemic Alliance has consistently called for more to be done. For groups who don’t qualify for anything else to be addressed and for some consideration to be shown. Yet in meetings with her to date we have all been left bitterly disappointed.
“But Alliance won’t give up on those who have been excluded to date. I’m now calling for the Minister to take a proposal to the Executive aiming to assist sole traders who cannot currently benefit from business support schemes. I’m asking her to think for herself and show kindness to those in need.”
Andrew Muir MLA added: “I have so many examples of businesses in North Down and beyond excluded from support and in desperate need of assistance to avoid closure. It is long beyond time the Minister launched new support schemes to aid those excluded rather than continuing to issue verbose generic replies offering little more than tea and sympathy.
“The responsibility rests with Minister to step up, show leadership, develop bids for funding, present to the Executive and get the support delivered without any more dither and delay.”