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A clear lack of foresight and contingency plan for Covid-19 pandemic

Caoimhe Archibald


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The Covid-19 pandemic has been devastating, over 4,000 deaths across the island, thousands ill, many facing long-term effects, and our health and social service staff under severe pressure.

The economic crisis is still unfolding. Thousands of business owners and self-employed people who spent years building up their businesses had to stop work overnight and workers saw their income disappear. Significant financial interventions have been made by the Executive to supports jobs, workers and their families through hundreds of millions of pounds in business support grants.

However, funding has come in dribs and drabs from the British Treasury and made it difficult to plan interventions. The blanket supports put in place by the British Treasury through the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme and Self-Employed Income Support Scheme have left groups excluded, some not even able to access Universal Credit. The economy department has designed several support schemes but despite constant lobbying from Sinn Fein and excluded groups, clear gaps remain almost 10 months later.


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