Derry MP Colum Eastwood backs Westminster recall over costs crisis

Foyle MP Colum Eastwood MP has said that Ministers in the British Government and at Stormont must urgently set out a strategy to protect people from the cost of living crisis.

The Foyle MP was speaking after the Bank of England warned of a recession later this year and while there remains no clarity on how urgent energy bill support will reach households in Northern Ireland.

The SDLP Leader, who has backed a campaign to have Westminster recalled to deal with the crisis, said the bleak forecast of a recession later this year ‘has caused immense worry in households across Northern Ireland’.

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“Working families and those in need of the most support are struggling to keep their heads above water as it is. They know that a winter with rising interest rates, soaring energy prices and little in the way of support from government is a toxic mix that they won’t be able to withstand.

Foyle MP, SDLP Leader Colum Eastwood.

“Ministers in the North need to urgently outline their strategy, within the power they have, to ease the pressure on people and families. It is not good enough to remain silent while people are at their wit’s end.

“Similarly, senior British Government Ministers need to snap out of their leadership contest stupor and start outlining how they will get the resource earmarked for energy bill support into the pockets of people here.

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“We cannot afford to wait for the Truss/Sunak circus to end before action is taken.”

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The SDLP LEader has also added his support for a recall of parliament as people in communities across Ireland and Britain struggle to cope with soaring food, fuel and energy costs.

Mr Eastwood has called for direct intervention from London to address the crisis facing people in Northern Ireland following the failure to establish a power sharing Executive at Stormont last week.

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The Foyle MP has also directed criticism at British Cabinet Ministers who he says have taken a ‘summer sabbatical’ to choose a new Prime Minister while working families face the burden of spiralling inflation and higher interest rates.

Colum Eastwood MP said: “In communities across Northern Ireland, working families and those most in need of additional financial support are facing the most severe household cost crisis in living memory. With inflation now projected to reach more than 13% by the end of this year, people simply will not be able to cope with soaring food, fuel and energy bills.

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“In those circumstances, it is immoral that Ministers at Stormont and in London have gone AWOL. With no Executive in place, emergency support to deal with this crisis has been held back leaving people to fend for themselves. While in Whitehall, Ministers have given themselves a summer sabbatical to choose a new Prime Minister. People in need cannot just wait months on end, they are facing extraordinary bills here and now. The urgency is totally lost on the political class.

“At a time of existential crisis for many households across these islands, parliament should be recalled to address this crisis. What we need is an emergency budget to put new support schemes in place, appropriately tax the multinationals making obscene profits and ease the burden on working families. It is within the power of governments at Stormont and Westminster to deal with this crisis. It is time for direct intervention now.