From Arlene Foster MLA <[email protected]>
Subject COVID-19 News Update - 1st May
Date May 1, 2020 7:35 PM
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A messsage from DUP Leader Arlene Foster MLA

DUP Update - 1st May 2020
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** Message from the Party Leader to members & supporters

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Party Leader Arlene Foster MLA speaking from Stormont this afternoon.

** Ministers continue focus on COVID-19
The Party Leader and First Minister has emphasised again this week that there will be a graduated approach towards easing lockdown restrictions.

There will be no "rush for the exit" and that all decisions will be based on the expert scientific and medical advice available to the Executive.
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First Minister Arlene Foster speaking during today's NI Executive media briefing.
Wednesday's Media Briefing ([link removed])
Monday's Media Briefing ([link removed])

** Updates from this week

** NI Assembly

Agriculture Minister Edwin Poots
* Highlighted the impact of restrictions on the horticulture sector and garden centres who would require alternative compensation. 60% of trade for these businesses is in April, May and June.

* Confirmed that most routine DAERA inspections will continue to be paused until 15th May.

* Welcomed confirmation that farmers can apply for the UK Governmetn Self-Employment ([link removed]) Income Support Scheme

Economy Minister Diane Dodds
* Provided apprenticeship ([link removed]) guidance for employers.

* Announced that Small Businesses occupying a rental property can aplly for the £10,000 Small Business ([link removed]) Support Grant Scheme.

* Worked with Executive colleagues and the UK Government to secure £5.7million support package for NI airports ([link removed]) .

** Education Minister Peter Weir
* Provided an update on the COVID-19 childcare ([link removed]) scheme.

* Confirmed that the call for volunteers to assist with educational supervision of children of key workers received over 1,000 applications ([link removed]) .

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Jeffrey Donaldson taking part in 'virtual' PMQs on Wednesday

** Westminster

* Sir Jeffrey Donaldson MP asked the Government how they intended to address the issue of non-COVID patients who urgently need treatment.

* Carla Lockhart MP called on the Government to debate an online petition asking for an extension of paid maternity leave ([link removed]) .

* Sammy Wilson MP joined with Gordon Dunne MLA to ask the Finance Minister Conor Murphy to publish plans for Land Registry ([link removed]) during the COVID-19 crisis.

** Also this week

** Appointment process commences for Veterans Commissioner

Party Leader and First Minister Rt. Hon. Arlene Foster MLA welcomed the progress on appointing a Veterans Commissioner for Northern Ireland.

The Cabinet Office is now seeking applications for the post. The deadline is 22 May 2020.

Commenting Mrs Foster said,

“This is a fantastic step forward not only for those living in Northern Ireland who served in our Armed Force but also for their families.

I commend Mrs Brenda Hale on the sterling work she has done, alongside others, to keep pressing this matter and seeking progress.

This Commissioner has been something we have pressed the Government to act on because our veterans need a dedicated champion who will work with the public, private and voluntary sectors to ensure their needs are understood and addressed.

This was a commitment from the New Decade New Approach Agreement which led to the restoration of devolution in January. The key focus of the new Commissioner must be the full implementation of, including a statutory duty to comply with, the Armed Forces Covenant in Northern Ireland.”

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