Green Party block Welfare Reform Bill

March 9, 2015

Green MLA Steven Agnew has supported the blocking of the Welfare Reform Bill by signing a Petition of Concern.

 

“The Green Party has consistently opposed the welfare cuts and on that basis I added my name to the petition of concern, thereby ensuring they are not implemented in Northern Ireland,” the Green Party in Northern Ireland Leader said.

 

“At earlier stages we proposed amendments to the Bill to protect the most vulnerable but these were voted down by both Sinn Fein and the DUP.  Whilst I welcome Sinn Fein rejoining us in opposition to the Bill, their late decision has created further instability in our political institutions.


“Clearly the mistake they made was in signing up to the Stormont House Agreement, accepting welfare cuts and public sector job losses in return for the power to cut corporation tax.  It would appear that this became an untenable position for them.

 

“The Green Party warned at the end of last year that a behind–the-doors deal in the form of the Stormont House Agreement was only storing up trouble for the future.  Unfortunately those fears have been realised today.  This is not the right and proper way to do politics and again we find ourselves staring into a crisis because there is no transparency around this dodgy deal which is now disintegrating.


“Democracy requires public oversight and accountability and this was missing from the cross party negotiations.  A sustainable solution will only be found when there is meaningful public engagement.

 

“This is too important an issue which is going to have real and lasting effects on so many of our citizens’ health and wellbeing to be pushed through by secret side deals.”

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