Speaking after the Committee session today in Westminster, Carla Lockhart said:
“The Government could, if it wanted to, make this payment. It could have made it already, but chose to delay the payment in a futile attempt to make people demand the immediate return of Stormont.
There is no such demand for the return of Stormont amongst the unionist community until the concerns with the Protocol are addressed. It is an insult to Unionists to suggest they would allow the Protocol to remain to accelerate the energy support payment.
The payment can be made last week if the Government had not moved the goal posts. My colleague Gavin Robinson MP exposed the myth propagated by the Government, and endorsed by SF, SDLP, Alliance and UUP, that the lack of devolution is holding up payments. It is a nonsense. It is only being made to undermine Unionism’s case to replace the Protocol.
Today, the Consumer Council for Northern Ireland reinforced their call for the payment to be made now to support households. The DUP support that call, and again we say to the Government that they can and must issue this payment as soon as possible.
We will remain resolute in our determination to get this payment made. We urge the Government to have the same resolve. If they do, the support can be provided imminently.”