Clare Bailey MLA

Full force of welfare reform hardship yet to hit home

Thursday 17 February 2018

Clare Bailey MLA has said that while welfare reform has already caused great hardship for many people, the ominous reality is that the full force will only hit once mitigation comes to an end next year.

The Green Party leader was responding to a Northern Ireland Audit Office (NIAO) Report on the implementation of welfare reform.

Clare Bailey said: “In the first instance, the Department for Communities must do more to ensure that those entitled to mitigation are supported through what can be a complicated process.

“Millions pounds of mitigation money is unspent – £136million out of £213 million according to the NIAO.

“This is much needed funding that families and individuals across Northern Ireland are missing out on. Families that are using food banks to get through the week, individuals that can’t afford to travel to medical appointments.

“The NIAO findings around the impact of welfare reform on housing are also significant. Early indications show that more people are entering into rent arrears as a result of welfare reform. I’m concerned that our homelessness crisis will be exacerbated by rent arrears stemming from the roll out of welfare reform.

“The ominous reality is that mitigation ends next year and the full force of welfare reform will hit home only then. People across Northern Ireland will face serious hardship when callous policies such as bedroom tax and the two child tax credit cap come into full force.

“The continuing absence of our devolved administration means that Sinn Féin, Alliance and the DUP, who all supported welfare reform, will be absent without leave as the policy plays out across communities.”

ENDS

Clare Bailey MLA
Clare Bailey MLA

Media contact

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