Other News In Brief

Extra Staff Needed To Ensure Quick Roll Out Of Financial Supports

Alliance has called for the immediate hiring out additional staff to ensure the quick roll out of new financial supports approved by the Executive.

Alliance MLA Andrew Muir welcomed the latest financial aid package but said that plans are only successful once money has hit the bank accounts of those in need.

He continued: "It would be extremely irresponsible to promise a Christmas wish list, but then fail to deliver. (The) announcement will bring some level of comfort for those affected, however anxiety and concerns will not immediately disappear as the process in accessing money has not been an easy one to date.

"To aid this process I have asked for extra to staff be put in place, to complement the 66 staff already dedicated to processing support grants. This is especially important given the range of new initiatives announced today. In particular, it is important the High Street Discount Voucher is promptly rolled out to support local businesses.

"It is also welcomed to see provision for a number of previously excluded groups in this announcement, albeit significantly behind the rest of the UK. For the many still waiting on schemes, such as the newly self-employed, Alliance will continue to raise the plight of all those consistently over looked and unable to access financial aid."

DUP Question Trade Minister Over Trade Continuity Agreement

The DUP's Sammy Wilson and Ian Paisley have met with the UK Minister for Trade to discuss the recently signed UK/Canada trade continuity agreement.

Following the meeting, Mr Wilson said: "The recent UK/Canada trade continuity agreement secures our strong links with Canada and opens the door for future expansion. Currently, 190 Northern Irish businesses trade with Canada and our total exports amount to £598m per year. Our food and drink industry is also making inroads into the Canadian market, with annual sales totalling £12.4m.
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"The Government have confirmed that it is their intention to build on these arrangements and that the next round of talks will focus on further trade concessions.

"I explicitly raised with the Trade Minister the concerns which many businesses in Northern Ireland have about the ability to participate in future trade deals because of the erroneous conditions which the EU insist on imposing via the Northern Ireland protocol. The Minister gave a cast iron commitment that Northern Ireland would be a full participant in this and all future trade deals.

"To date, the Government have secured trade deals with 53 countries covering £153bn worth of trade; this exposes the lie of the whinging Remainers that outside the EU the UK would be isolated, friendless and find its trade adversely affected.

"The pace at which new trade deals are being agreed proves that fact and I believe that all the promises made when we encouraged people to break the shackles of Brussels will come to fruition."

Competition To Appoint New Board Members For HSENI

The Department for the Economy has launched a competition to appoint up to six new members to the Board of the Health and Safety Executive for Northern Ireland (HSENI).

HSENI plays an important role in educating, informing, communicating with and supporting business to comply with, and improve, standards of health and safety at work in Northern Ireland.

The Department wishes to appeal to people of all ages from a wide range of backgrounds and experience and would particularly welcome applications from women, young people, people with a disability and those from ethnic minority communities, as they are currently under-represented on the Board. Applicants with a disability who meet or exceed the pass-mark set for the criteria will be offered an interview. Their application will not be subjected to short-listing.

Further information and application packs can be obtained on the Department’s website.

The closing date for applications is 12 midday on Friday 11 December 2020.  Late applications will not be accepted.

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