SDLP Leader Colum Eastwood has said that working families across Northern Ireland will find it hard to believe that Executive Departments have recorded significant underspends while a cost of living crisis continues to hurt hard pressed households.
Mr Eastwood said that the support offered to address spiralling energy costs and household bills to date simply is not enough and risks seeing working families pushed further into poverty.
2021-22 Provisional Outturn figures published by the Department of Finance today reveal a £83.9m resource DEL underspend across Executive Departments and a £35.9m Capital DEL underspend which will see more than £10m handed back to the treasury.
Said the Foyle MP: “There are thousands of families across the North of Ireland who, for the first time, find themselves struggling to make ends meet despite working every hour they can.
“People who are being hit hardest by spiralling energy costs and other household bills will find it incredible that Executive Ministers are set to hand back millions to the Treasury in the face of the most severe household finance crisis in memory.
“The hard truth is that while Ministers have provided limited support, there are thousands of people across our communities who have received nothing and, under current plans, will receive nothing.
“That isn’t good enough.
“The SDLP has an action plan to address the cost of living crisis that would get support directly to every household that needs it.
“We have a plan to expand free school meal entitlement to make sure that no child goes hungry. We are ready to get to work to address this crisis.
“75 days on from an election where every Executive party promised support for families in the face of this crisis and they’ve failed to deliver anything.
“It is time for Ministers to get on with their jobs. It is time for the DUP to get back to work.
“It is time for politics to deliver for the people we represent.”