Dickson Questions Economy Minister at Committee

On Wednesday 23 September, Stewart had the opportunity to ask the Economy Minister a number of questions on issues such as: businesses excluded from Coronavirus business support grants, a Northern Ireland equivalent to the Kickstart scheme and HMS Caroline.

Assembly Question 7431/17-22

Question: To ask the Minister of Agriculture, Environment and Rural Affairs, due to the cross-cutting nature of the Islandmagee Gas Caverns proposals, whether marine licensing decisions will be made by the wider Executive.

Assembly Question 7430/17-22

Question: To ask the Minister of Health to detail the current daily COVID-19 testing capacity; and for his assessment of the adequacy of this capacity.

Assembly Question 7429/17-22

Question: To ask the Minister of Health to detail the average waiting times for each Emergency Department in Northern Ireland, for each month since 1 January 2020.

Assembly Question 7428/17-22

Question: To ask the Minister for the Economy whether she will pause the awarding of a contract for research into the economic, societal and environmental impacts of onshore petroleum exploration and production to allow for a full investigation and understanding of issues and implications of the research to take place.

Dickson Says Protocol Isn’t Perfect, But Best Way to Protect GFA

Stewart Dickson called on the UK Government to honour its previous commitment to the Brexit Withdrawal Agreement, as the best way forward for Northern Ireland rather than risk irrevocable damage to the Good Friday Agreement. Speaking during an Assembly debate, Mr Dickson argued that whilst what’s currently in place isn’t perfect, it is best placed to guarantee the continued protection of the status quo in Northern Ireland. Stewart Dickson said: “It seems nothing is ever settled when it comes to Brexit. Especially now the Prime Minister has suggested through the Internal Market Bill that his Government could potentially override elements of an international treaty signed only months ago –

Dickson Welcomes Report Highlighting Covid-19 Experiences of Older People

East Antrim Alliance MLA, Stewart Dickson, has welcomed a report compiled by AgeNI, highlighting the experience of older people living through Covid-19 in Northern Ireland. Mr Dickson commented: “The report, ‘Lived Experience, Voices of Older People on the COVID-19 Pandemic’, draws from comments, feedback and experiences of older people across Northern Ireland over the past six months. “As we know, older people are particularly vulnerable to severe Covid-19 infection, and thus had to shield for a number of months. This highlighted in particular issues with loneliness and isolation, as well as the need to provide services that ensured everyone was well cared for and supplied with necessities.

Dickson Speaks in Support of Dementia Friendly Policy on World Alzheimer’s Day

East Antrim Alliance MLA, Stewart Dickson, has spoken in the Assembly in support of making Northern Ireland more dementia friendly. Mr Dickson commented: “Today, Monday 21st September, is World Alzheimer’s Day, and it is time we spoke up and broke the silence on the issue of dementia in our society. Around 22,000 people suffer from dementia in Northern Ireland, we need to be working to ensure that they have support to live with dignity and in a society that is inclusive and considerate of their needs. “Furthermore, I want to pay tribute today to the thousands of carers across Northern Ireland who help ensure the wellbeing of people living with dementia. It has been a particularly difficult y

Assembly Question 7003/17-22

Question: To ask the First Minister and deputy First Minister whether they will instruct officials to issue advice for civil servants concerned that they are being asked to work on Brexit policy that may break the law.

Dickson Warns of Fake Bank Notes

East Antrim Alliance MLA, Stewart Dickson, has urged people to be extra alert to the possibility of fake banks in Carrickfergus. Mr Dickson commented: "I have been made aware that there have been several reports of fake Danske Bank £20 notes in circulation, particularly in the Carrickfergus area, so I would ask customers and traders to be extra vigilant to this."

Dickson Highlights ‘Employers for Childcare’ Resources for Parents

East Antrim Alliance MLA, Stewart Dickson, has encouraged parents seeking advice on childcare issues to contact Employers for Childcare, a local social enterprise and charity. Mr Dickson commented: “Childcare has been a particularly challenging area for many parents during the past few months, as many providers have closed or been restricted in numbers. Going forward we want to make sure that parents have the best support available to them. “I would therefore advise parents seeking advice on childcare and work related issues to contact Employers for Childcare. They can provide personalised calculations to advise parents and childcare providers of the support available, both over the phone an

Assembly Question 6917/17-22

Question: To ask the Minister for the Economy whether she will make a recommendation to the Executive on a proposed scheme to assist sole traders and others thus far excluded from business support schemes.

Assembly Question 6916/17-22

Question: To ask the Minister for the Economy, following planning approval being granted for the North South Electricity Interconnector, to detail the benefits of a more interconnected Single Electricity Market for (i) the Northern Ireland consumer; and (ii) reducing the carbon footprint of energy use and generation in Northern Ireland.

Assembly Question 6915/17-22

Question: To ask the Minister for the Economy whether she will review regulatory arrangements in Northern Ireland to ensure that workers have financial and employment security if they need to self-isolate due to COVID-19.

Assembly Question 6827/17-22

Question: To ask the Minister for the Economy to provide an explanation for the commissioning of research into the economic, societal and environmental impacts of onshore petroleum exploration and production in Northern Ireland. Answer: My Department has commissioned research into the economic, societal and environmental impacts of onshore petroleum production as part of an ongoing review of petroleum licensing policy in Northern Ireland. In 2019, the Department began a wide ranging review of petroleum licensing policy, aimed at ensuring that the petroleum licensing policy continues to contribute to the delivery of objectives one and two of the December 2019 Outcomes Delivery Plan

Assembly Question 6555/17-22

Question: To ask the Minister for the Economy whether her Department will be seeking to obtain a limited ability to redistribute funds to ensure flexibility on COVID-19 support scheme spending and avoid underspend.

Assembly Question 6554/17-22

Question: To ask the Minister for the Economy whether she will publish specific options, compiled by her Department, to provide support to sole traders that have thus far been excluded from COVID-19 business support schemes.

Assembly Question 6463/17-22

Question: To ask the Minister for the Economy for an update on progress in developing (i) an industrial strategy; and (ii) an investment strategy, as set out in New Decade, New Approach. Answer: New Decade, New Approach contained a commitment to develop a new strategic level Programme for Government (PfG) from April 2021 with a supporting Economic Strategy aligned to these timescales. Development of a new Economic Strategy and PfG was put on hold with the emergence of the Covid-19 pandemic and the Executive’s focus on delivering a response to the crisis. In July 2020, the Executive revisited its PfG commitment and agreed to undertake a twin approach to delivery: Development of a one year act

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