Muir welcomes latest financial aid package but says additional staff needed to ensure quick roll out

Alliance MLA Andrew Muir has welcomed the latest financial aid package from the Executive, adding additional staff should be put in place immediately to ensure the quick roll out of payments for people and businesses.

Speaking after the Finance Minister announced the package, designed to help those affected by the latest set of restrictions, Mr Muir said today’s plans are only successful once money has hit the bank accounts of those in need.

He said: “It would be extremely irresponsible to promise a Christmas wish list, but then fail to deliver. Today’s announcement will bring some level of comfort for those affected, however anxiety and concerns will not immediately disappear as the process in accessing money has not been an easy one to date.

“To aid this process I have asked for extra to staff be put in place, to complement the 66 staff already dedicated to processing support grants. This is especially important given the range of new initiatives announced today. In particular, it is important the High Street Discount Voucher is promptly rolled out to support local businesses.

“It is also welcomed to see provision for a number of previously excluded groups in this announcement, albeit significantly behind the rest of the UK. For the many still waiting on schemes, such as the newly self-employed, Alliance will continue to raise the plight of all those consistently over looked and unable to access financial aid.”