Finance Minister, Conor Murphy met with Ministers in London today and urged the British Government to replace EU funds in full.
The Minister’s engagement began with a meeting with Nadhim Zahawi, Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster during which Minister Murphy outlined the need for the Executive to be restored.
Minister Murphy then met the Chief Secretary to the Treasury, Chris Philp and stressed the need for additional funding to support citizens, businesses and the public sector.
Speaking following his meeting with Chris Philp, Minister Murphy said: “I highlighted the urgent need for clarity on when energy support will be provided to people in the North. The Chief Secretary is aware of our high dependence on home heating oil and we discussed figures my Department have provided to Treasury which show that the £100 scheme for home heating oil is nowhere near sufficient.
“I conveyed to the Chief Secretary the immense pressure our local small businesses are under. Many feel they have no choice but to close their doors as they can’t continue to operate in the face of increased costs. At the same time household incomes are being squeezed by inflation and increased mortgage costs following the Chancellor’s mini-budget. It is essential that the Chancellor’s upcoming Fiscal Statement delivers extra funding to support businesses and protect the lives of thousands of workers.”
Minister Murphy added: “Our public finances are now in a critical position. While the energy support from Westminster is to be welcomed it is anticipated that this will not cover the £250 million of energy pressures facing us. Extra funding must be provided to take account of the cost crisis.”
The Finance Minister concluded his engagements in London by meeting with Simon Clarke the Secretary of State for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities. Expressing concerns about the failure to replace EU Structural funds in full, Minister Murphy added: “I raised my serious concerns with Simon Clarke on the Shared Prosperity Fund – the replacement for the European Social Fund and European Regional Development Funds.
“Despite assurances that replacement funding would come in full, this has not happened. As a result many projects which play a vital role in our communities face huge uncertainty.
“We have lost £65 million per annum from the Executive budget. What little replacement funding there is will be spent directly by the British Government, according to a plan they have developed, bypassing local departments.
“The British Government must replace EU structural funds in full and ensure the continuation of this vital funding.”
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