Inflation of 10.1% sparks calls for urgent action
The revelation inflation has risen to a four-decade high of 10.1 per cent has prompted urgent calls for action from local political representatives.
SDLP Leader Colum Eastwood MP has warned the rising rate of inflation is leaving people with nowhere to turn to in the absence of an Executive or intervention from Westminster.
"Double digit inflation is a legitimately terrifying prospect for families across Northern Ireland already struggling to make ends meet. Most worryingly, the latest rise in prices is being driven by the cost of essential items like food meaning that there will be no shelter for anyone from soaring household costs," said the Derry MP.
Sinn Féin MLA Pádraig Delargy has called on the British government to ‘get real’ on tackling the cost-of-living emergency as businesses close their doors.
The Foyle MLA said: “We are in the midst of a cost-of-living emergency which has reduced the ability of workers and families to buy even basics with some people facing the choice between heating or eating.
“This has had a knock-on effect on retailers who have experienced the biggest drop in sales in ten years which has resulted in businesses closing their doors as they struggle to cope with rising costs, particularly of energy bills."
They were speaking as the British Office of National Statistics (ONS) published its Consumer Prices Index (CPI) figures for July that showed the largest inflation rate since 1982.
Mr. Eastwood claimed working families across the north had been abandoned by political leaders at Stormont and in Whitehall.
“Ministers here and in London appear to have given in to the DUP’s abdication of responsibility but worse, by all accounts they’ve given up on hard working people struggling to keep their heads above water.
“While a bureaucratic tug of war about how to get the £400 energy support payment continues between Belfast and London, most people know that support at such a low level won’t even scratch the surface of this crisis.
"Ministers need to listen and act now – convene an emergency taskforce with officials and the community sector to design urgent support schemes. They should make at-risk allocations to get emergency funding to households that are on the brink. This is not rocket science – we have just been through a public health emergency where governments took extraordinary action, we need that same sense of urgency now.”
Mr. Delargy said: "Inflation is at a 40-year high and workers and families are struggling with ongoing rises to the price of food, fuel and electricity.
“There is a real onus on the British Government to allocate funding to support our businesses and protect jobs, to date they have failed to take any action to help businesses.
“The reduced rate of VAT should also be reintroduced for businesses that had it reduced during the pandemic, including bars and restaurants.
"The British government must get real on the impact of the soaring cost of living and cost of doing business.
“The DUP should end its boycott of our democratic institutions so we can get money out to those who are struggling.”