The MLA said many businesses had received shocking electric bills this month, with businesses and households seeing price hikes exceeding a 42%, in some cases.
"Hospitality businesses that survived Covid closures are now facing an energy price hike crisis. To receive an electricity bill double what it was the previous month is devastating. The only way hospitality could survive this crisis is to increase cost to the consumer and take the risk of losing customers who are also faced with the very same cost of living crisis,” said the Strangford MLA.
"Many of the local businesses in Strangford depend on Summer tourism income to see them through the Winter months. These price hikes now mean profit is being diverted to cover energy costs, leaving local employers with no means to survive beyond the tourism season.
"I am calling on the DUP's Minister for the Economy, Gordon Lyons MLA, to publish an emergency support scheme for businesses. If he is to deliver the objectives of the Department of the Economy then he must provide support to local tourism and hospitality businesses.
"While Westminster is providing Cost of Living Payment to people in receipt of benefits, the NI Assembly is not able to even discuss solutions as we continue to be held to ransom by the DUP, as they place their own interests above people and local businesses across NI.
"Electricity, heating, transport and other fuel costs have all risen far beyond inflation. The only way to help our local businesses survive this crisis is to have a fully functioning Government in NI and to ensure financial support is available to those who need it.”