Other News In Brief

UUP Urge DUP To Realise They Have 'Reached The End Of The Road'

The Ulster Unionist Party (UUP) has called on the DUP to realise that they have "reached the end of the road" in their ongoing boycott of the Executive.

UUP Deputy Leader Robbie Butler, said: "For many months now, I have wrestled with the words and retorts made by senior Westminster based DUP politicians who, in response to the Windsor Framework, seem to ignore completely the lived reality of the majority of people across Northern Ireland.

"As people struggle daily to pay rising mortgage bills, increased energy costs and tighten their already constricted belts to pay for costly childcare, one DUP MP said that a return to Stormont 'could be an ice age away'.

"As winter looms and the temperature dips I am quite sure that our underpaid and overworked health care workers, teaching & support staff and many others on the front lines will take no comfort from words given by those not prepared to share the pain.

"This week we have heard that a deal may be imminent. Sadly, just like clockwork, those usual voices, who having been at the fore of the "get Brexit done" campaign and at the table for subsequent negotiations with the ERG and Conservative Government between 2017-19, seek to make this potential move forward both unworkable and fatalistic without speaking to the wider damage being wrought to the pro-Union family and Northern Ireland. The suggestion that there will be 'no second chance' is at best a red herring and potentially defeatist.

"Unionists should never rest in building the case for prosperity and well-being in Northern Ireland. We should never cease to engage, encourage and maximise opportunity. We must also never cease to challenge the unacceptable and, in doing so, ensure that there is no negative impact on the people of Northern Ireland.

"Whilst all Unionists agree that changes to the Windsor framework are still necessary to ensure that restraints in trade between NI and GB (and vice versa) are removed and that future divergence must be stopped, sadly, I am becoming more convinced that there are some who would see us lose an opportunity to make Northern Ireland the centre of prospect and prosperity which surely would be one of the greatest tools in our belt to persuade those up for grabs in any constitutional query.

"I know that there are those opposed to power sharing and I know that there are those who would be content with a land border as a result of Brexit, but what has been missing from the rhetoric of some DUP MP's and Peers is what is their 'Plan B' or bottom line?

"I for one will not assist them in making Northern Ireland an iceberg or last-chance saloon."

DUP To Continue Focusing On Older Pepler
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The DUP will continue to prioritise issues impacting older people, East Antrim MP Sammy Wilson has said, speaking at a Later Life Ambitions event in Parliament.

Mr Wilson MP said: "It is important that politicians address the issues which effect the elderly population to ensure that they are still able to participate fully in society, and lead healthy and worthwhile lives.

"The DUP have a record to be proud of in this regard.

"We ensured through the Confidence and Supply Agreement that the Government stuck by the Triple Lock commitment to upgrade pensions in line with the highest rate of inflation.

"In the Assembly, DUP Ministers introduced free public transport for everyone over 60, created the office of the Commissioner for Older People and supported initiatives to ensure pensioners were able to access the benefits they are entitled to.

"Digital inclusion is obviously vital as more Government services move online. The DUP launched the silver surfers initiative to help the elderly navigate computers.

"We have a proud record and we will continue to build on it."

Belfast Achieves CDP A Rating For Climate Action

Belfast has received an A rating for its climate action work for the second year in a row, from international climate research provider CDP.

Welcoming the good news, Chair of the Climate and City Resilience Committee, Councillor Róis-Máire Donnelly said: "As a city and as a Council, this is incredibly good news for Belfast. The annual assessment from CDP is designed to encourage cities to advocate and accelerate climate ambitions and is widely recognised as the gold standard of environmental reporting.

"Over the last year, we have made improvements in building resilience, reducing emissions and in turn, helping to create a robust climate resilient city. Governance has been established at both city and Council level in the form of the Climate Commission, Resilience and Sustainability Board and Council's Climate Programme Board.

"Work is ongoing across the city and within Council, with an emphasis on active travel, the continued success of our One Million Trees initiative which focuses on collaborating with young people, schools and communities and our recent Belfast Tree Strategy. The Belfast Sustainable Food Partnership has also been re-established this year with a focus on tackling food poverty, reducing waste and the promotion of sustainable food.”

Cities who received an A grade must have a city-wide emissions strategy and have a focus on the belief that everyone in the city should be involved in the move to a net-zero economy.

Councillor Donnelly added: "It is vital that we continue to build on the momentum we have created and continue towards our goal of a climate resilient city within a generation. The climate emergency needs to be at the heart of all decisions made for both the city of Belfast and our residents.”

For more information, visit www.belfastcity.gov.uk/climate-change

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