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Sinn Féin set up new working group on ‘Cost of Living’ increases

6 June, 2008


Sinn Féin Finance Spokesperson Mitchel McLaughlin MLA has said that the party have established a working group to look at the increases in the Cost of Living.

The working group will be chaired by Mitchel McLaughlin, Chairperson of the Assembly Finance and Personnel Committee and includes West Belfast MLA's Jennifer McCann (Vice Chair of the Enterprise, Trade and Investment Committee) and Paul Maskey (Chair of the Public Accounts Committee), John O'Dowd MLA (Assembly Group Leader and Education Spokesperson) and Claire McGill MLA (Party Anti-Poverty Spokesperson and member of the Health and the Employment and Learning Committees).

Mr McLaughlin said:

"The spiralling increases in the Cost of Living are hitting not just people on low incomes and benefits but across the north people on middle bracket incomes are feeling the squeeze.

"Rising energy, fuel and food prices along with the crisis in housing mean people are increasingly uncertain about their future. At the same time we have low incomes here and a high proportion of people living on benefits and in low paid part-time employment. People are working hard just too make ends meet.

"The Executive needs to collectively respond to these Cost of Living increases with a joined up approach.

"This new party working group will look at a range of initiatives that can be taken not just by the Executive but also the all-Ireland Ministerial Council. We will also be talking to people in local communities and experts to find innovative solutions to the financial difficulties that more and more people are facing on a daily basis. This includes talking to the private sector to ensure that they take their social responsibilities seriously.

"One of our first actions is to call for the immediate setting up of an Executive sub-committee to look at these issues on a cross-departmental basis. We need to address key issues such as housing and the lack of social and affordable housing, unemployment, low incomes, skills and training, education and health and put in place well resourced strategies to tackle poverty and fuel poverty." ENDS

Note to Editors

Sinn Féin have tabled a motion on the Cost of Living increases.

Motion - Cost of Living Executive sub-committee

That this Assembly calls on the Executive to examine the full range of options, including the establishment of an Executive sub-committee, to alleviate the rising cost of living including energy and food costs.

Mitchel McLaughlin
Jennifer McCann
John O'Dowd
Claire McGill
Paul Maskey

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