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DUP East Belfast MP Gavin Robinson has said the warning by Prime Minister Boris Johnson about having a second lockdown in Northern Ireland should weigh heavily on us all as the Executive plots a path through the pandemic.

Mr Robinson said,

“There is growing recognition across the British Isles that the so-called circuit breaker will have irreversible negative societal consequences without proper supports in place.

This latest statement from the Prime Minister raises similar concerns. Both the First Minister Arlene Foster and our Westminster team have been pressing Treasury on this matter, but to this point there has been no indication of movement from the Government.

The Government should extend meaningful employment support and without such it is impossible for the Executive to have a second lockdown without a UK wide financial support package. The Health Minister in making lockdown recommendations cannot ignore the wider societal implications. Businesses in the hospitality sector will never recover.

Whilst the scientists may be pressing for an indefinite circuit breaker, such a step would leave tens of thousands out of work, the Executive budget drained, saddle this generation with economic carnage and rob our young people of any opportunity for success. We cannot take decisions about lockdowns in isolation without considering the wider ramifications.”