Speaking ahead of the Chancellor’s Autumn Statement, due tomorrow, the North Down MLA said the cost of living crisis had seen many people pushed into poverty, some businesses on the brink and public services put into a dire state.
“Heaping an era of austerity onto broken public services and households struggling to heat their homes and feed their families would be a catastrophic mistake, showing an abject failure to learn the lessons of the mistakes made during the last recession,” he said.
“Those in need were left without much needed assistance and key services suffered savage cuts. The impact of that is now being acutely felt across health, education, infrastructure, justice and other areas.
“Ensuring a fairer share of tax burden should be a key starting point, with a much wider and more effective windfall tax on energy companies required, alongside other long overdue fiscal measures. Those include windfall tax on banks, measures to tackle unjust tax exemptions and using avoidance measures.
“In terms of energy support, rather than pulling the rug from under people and businesses in little under six months when the Energy Price Guarantee is due for review, the Chancellor needs to be focused on a package which gives people assurance and confidence support will remain as we struggle to get through the recessionary period ahead.
“In this time of crisis, a restored Executive is needed immediately to ensure all resources and powers available can be used to drive delivery and prioritise support on the ground. It’s not lost on me delivery of the £400 energy support grants would have been well underway had it not been for the DUP collapsing government in Northern Ireland.
“Government cannot continue in autopilot as we hurtle towards the ground with warning signals flashing and alarms sounding.”