‘We have past breaking point’ on costs crisis - Derry MP

Derry’s MP Colum Eastwood MP has brought an motion to the House of Commons in support of the Irish Congress of Trade Unions’ planned Cost of Living demonstration at Stormont this weekend.

The demonstration this Saturday, June 25th, will see groups travelling from across the north west and other areas to protest outside the government buildings in response to the spiralling crisis.

It comes after regional protests were held in Derry and elsewhere over recent months.

Hide Ad

Mr Eastwood said people are ‘crying out’ for the DUP to end their withdrawal from the NI Executive, warning that ‘the price of their ongoing protest is cold homes, hungry children and parents at their wits end’. “The cost-of-living emergency, which has seen inflation soar, the cost of food rise and fuel and energy bills reach all-time highs whilst wages and social security remain stagnant, is devastating working families in Derry and across the North,” he said. “We have passed breaking point for many households where parents have accepted that they will have to turn off the radiators to make sure they can put food on the table.

SDLP Foyle MP Colum Eastwood.

“It is a damning indictment of our politics that while people sit cold and hungry, Stormont is sitting on hundreds of millions in unspent resource that could help people blocked by a DUP refusing to do their jobs. It cannot continue like this.

“I’m calling on the DUP to end their boycott of our institutions to allow Stormont to get money directly to those who need it. In Westminster, I’m calling on the British Government to introduce immediate measures to help those struggling, including but not limited to further windfall taxes on energy companies, energy price caps, rent controls, radical wealth taxes, drastic uplifts in state benefits and a real pay rise for all workers across both the public and private sector.”

Hide Ad

The DUP’s Upper Bann MP Carla Lockhart meanwhile has also tabled an Early Day Motion in Westminster, calling on the Government to alleviate the extreme pressures of motorists and small business by further cutting fuel duty, green taxes and administering a UK wide cut in the rate of VAT on fuel.

She said: “Motorists look at the breakdown of where the price per litre goes, and the high percentage that goes to the Government in duty, VAT and green tax. Whilst the 5p per litre cut in the Spring Statement was welcome, the situation now is worse than it was then, that precipitated that cut. Indeed, as the price goes up per litre, the Treasury’s percentage tax will lead to a windfall of tax revenue.

Hide Ad
Local people at a previous anti-fuel poverty rally in Derry.

“My hope is that the Chancellor will act, without delay, to reduce fuel duty, green levies and VAT on fuel. Of course, to cut VAT here would be impacted by the Protocol, and whilst there are those local parties like SF, SDLP and Alliance who would stand by the Protocol and its negative impact, we would urge the Government to act unilaterally and ensure the hard-pressed Northern Ireland motorist can benefit.”