Urgent measures must be taken by the Assembly and Westminster to support households through the cost of living crisis, Alliance MLA Andrew Muir has said.
North Down MLA Mr Muir was speaking as Alliance launched a series of proposals aimed at addressing the cost of living crisis. It includes a home heating support grant voucher scheme to supplement the winter fuel payment, a child payment scheme and more energy efficiency for social housing, as well as abolishing the planned hike in national insurance and a universal credit update in line with the true rate of inflation.
“Families across Northern Ireland are at breaking point with an unjust social security system offering little to no support,” he said.
“So many households were already struggling to make ends meet due to the pandemic, and we are now facing the biggest fall in living standards since comparable records began, as inflation continues to reduce the value of wages and benefits.
“This also means a threat to our economic recovery in the midst of an already difficult period for businesses. That could cost jobs and further reduce living standards. The ongoing invasion of Ukraine and resultant crisis will likely further exacerbate costs of energy and foodstuffs.
“We need urgent action to support our most vulnerable households, both from the Assembly and UK Government, to protect people and prevent lasting social and economic damage to our society. Alongside other policy interventions, they would not only address rising energy costs but also food, transport and housing.
“Alliance’s plan for vulnerable families is realistic and achievable. It will ensure we protect our most vulnerable and get through the cost of living crisis together in dignity.”
Alliance’s Counting the Cost document, containing proposals to combat the cost of living crisis, is available here.