DUP 'let down by Tory government' says Dodds over cost-of-living support payment in Northern Ireland

The DUP MLA Diane Dodds has said her party has been "let down" by the Conservative government over failures to deliver the promised £600 energy payment to households in Northern Ireland, adding the payment "could have been and should have been made".

She was speaking on UTV's View From Stormont programme.

Sinn Féin MP John Finucane, Alliance Party MLA Kate Nicholl and UUP MLA Steve Aiken

The Ulster Unionist Party MP Steve Aiken added that "it's not often that he agrees with the DUP... but I would like to ask Chris Heaton-Harris why hasn't it happened?"

"I have no doubt the Conservative Party are playing politics but this is far too important", he went on to say.

Chris Heaton-Harris has said it is more complex for the London government to deliver the payment than it would have been for a local administration.

Sinn Féin's John Finucane said the talk of the Conservative Party playing politics was a red herring.

"If we had an economy minister, and we had an Executive then people would be sitting with their money in their pockets already," he said.

The Alliance Party's Kate Nicholl also said the Executive should be up and running again.

"Keeping the Assembly down isn't protecting the union, it isn't protecting people, it's strangling them," she said.

Meanwhile, the former leader of the Ulster Unionist Party Steve Aiken described Doug Beattie's comments during Wednesday's debate in the Assembly as "wrong", but said he had accepted the leader's apology.The UUP leader apologised after saying DUP MLAs were screaming and "whining like a girl" in the Assembly.The Upper Bann MLA, who this year was involved in a controversy over tweets he had sent - including one about the wife of Edwin Poots' wife - then said he had "got it wrong".

During the debate, Mr Poots said "repeat apologies don't cut it".

"I think it is absolutely scandalous ... You are a disgrace to unionism."

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