Part of Ministerial Statements – in the Northern Ireland Assembly at 11:00 am on 5th May 2020.

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Photo of Nichola Mallon Nichola Mallon Social Democratic and Labour Party 11:00 am, 5th May 2020

I thank the Member for her question. As she will be aware, the lead Department on that issue is the Department for the Economy, but I recognise the critical importance of it, which is why I am trying to do what I can to support her and to support us as an Executive. At the moment, I think that there is a recognition, certainly in the Department for Transport, of the critical role of our hauliers given our unique set of circumstances as an island. The focus at present is on providing the detailed evidence that the Treasury requires in order to provide that financial support. We are working with the sector very closely to try to get that detail across to evidence their case.

I think the Member made a very important point about Brexit. We are all, rightly, focused on COVID-19, but we cannot lose sight of the fact that 31 December is hurtling towards us, and that will present huge challenges. When you put Brexit and COVID-19 side by side, you will find that we are going to face huge and unprecedented challenges as an Assembly, an economy and a society. We should not lose sight of that in the midst of this, and preparations should continue.