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Executive must allocate additional funds without delay

Alliance Finance spokesperson Andrew Muir MLA has said an additional £600 million allocated to Northern Ireland to fight effects of the pandemic must be allocated without delay, as too many people continue to suffer the consequences of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Mr Muir was speaking after the additional money was confirmed, expressing concern that with no plans yet to allocate the funding, too many people would face unnecessary hardship.

He added: “Northern Ireland is in the midst of an unprecedented economic crisis. Whilst it might seem like life is slowly returning to normal with the easing of some lockdown restrictions, the economy is still in a fierce battle with the bitter effects of Covid-19.

“Yes this money is more than welcome – but it would be even better to see it allocated immediately, with schemes designed to help many delivered without delay. The level of support earmarked by the UK Government has not always transcended to action in Northern Ireland and too many still face an anxious wait for help and support. Additional Barnett consequentials have been let to pile up for weeks without any spending plans forthcoming.

“With many businesses excluded from previous grant support still waiting on action, the arts facing a tough battle for survival and the Economy Department yet to detail how it will allocate unspent funds from previous schemes, rather than platitudes we need serious actions that will help, not hinder those most in need.

“I hope the allocation of these funds will be addressed without any more delay. Many have waited long enough.”