East Londonderry MP Gregory Campbell has said that the economic measures put in place by the UK Government to the COVID-19 outbreak mean that over £300 million per month is currently being paid to workers across Northern Ireland by HM Treasury.
Mr Campbell raised the significance of the furlough scheme during today’s meeting of the Northern Ireland Affairs Committee.
Speaking afterwards he said, “Whilst the furlough scheme is not broken down by region, we do know that some 7.5million people across the UK have been enrolled on it, and figures from ONS have suggested that around 20% of the workforce has been furloughed.
Even taking a conservative estimate of Northern Ireland figures, it would mean that over £300 million per month is currently being paid to people across the Province. That is a huge economic commitment and underlines the scale of the economic assistance being offered during this unprecedented crisis.
This assistance of course comes on top of the £10bn annual economic benefit which Northern Ireland receives every year and the other UK-wide support and Barnett consequentials we have received specifically due to COVID-19 announcements.
Devolution provides the ability for all UK regions to tailor a response to the COVID-19 which is most appropriate to the particular conditions experienced at that time. However, all regions have benefitted hugely from the UK-wide response to this, and the response across all regions has been much more collective than the political motivations of some would allow them to admit.
The Secretary of State was right to mention that benefits have flown in both directions within the UK, specifically highlighting that Northern Ireland was able send PPE to Great Britain during the crisis. Through the four nations of the UK working together and standing together it has highlighted both the importance and benefit of our Union.”