Executive must address spiralling ‘cost of living’
Sinn Féin MLA Martina Anderson has said that given the priorities agreed by the Executive in the Programme for Government that there needs to be a response from the Executive to the 'spiralling cost of living' following recent increases in fuel and electricity costs and food.
Ms Anderson said:
"Sinn Féin put tackling equality at the heart of the Executive's Programme for Government. We now need to see a comprehensive response from the Executive to the spiralling cost of living because this is a burden being felt unequally by those most at risk from poverty.
"This means that across the entire Executive we need to look at the resources available and, more importantly look, at what actions are required to tackle fuel poverty, to deliver on social and affordable housing and bring about a targeted programme of work to tackle poverty.
"Sinn Fein also set the baseline in terms of all future financial decisions being proofed against equality criteria. This means that when it comes to supporting direct actions that will assist those most in need that there can be no half measures. For example if more money is needed for schools in deprived areas then it must be prioritised by the Executive and if we are spending money on fuel poverty then it must go first to those areas most in need.
"It also means, for example, that when we come to issues such as rates reliefs that the priority must those most in need or when it comes to uptake of benefits that we look at why take-up rates for older people are so low.
"Across the Executive there needs to be a recognition that many people are now facing a very very difficult future with people being forced to cut back on essentials because they can not afford them. We cannot afford to have a situation where the most vulnerable people in our society are subsidising those with access greater financial resources and assets." ENDS