Friday, 18 December 2020
Appropriation Bill 2020: Second Stage
I welcome this Bill. I do not think anyone has a problem with it. It has been an exceptional year with levels of expenditure that we have probably never seen before, and which we will hopefully never need to see again, around Covid-19.
Following the news last night about hospitality, I take this opportunity to ask for certainty about what is happening in the coming week or ten days. We just need that. I spoke earlier on the Order of Business about the effect it is having on the families who are engaged in the sector. I spoke to my brother this morning. He said we would be better off being told that we will be closed until March or April because the in-out, open-closed, half-closed, half-open, half-partially open approach is playing havoc with everyone involved. I appreciate the level of supports that have been given to us so far to keep us alive and so that we can open. It was difficult to get staff to come back to work for what was going to be a period of 20 or 30 days, but we found out last night that it could be curtailed to a ten-day period. It is worrying. I ask the Minister of State to take back to the Government a message that it should make a clear decision for us and give us plenty of notice. The uncertainty is very difficult and emotionally draining for the families in business and all the staff, whom we coaxed to come back to work for 20 days and now we are going to have to tell them it is for just ten days.
I fully support the Bill, which was needed. The supports were put there.