Tuesday 18 March 2021
Rachel Woods MLA has described a DUP Assembly motion on a sustainable welfare system for Northern Ireland as “pure hypocrisy”.
Rachel Woods MLA said: “The DUP today brought an Assembly motion calling for the Minister for Communities to ensure that appropriate and ongoing welfare support is made available to households.
“This is pure hypocrisy given that the DUP has supported measures and introduced legislation which have adversely impacted people in need of social security protection.
"The motion did, however, provide an opportunity to raise issues that are very real to my constituents on the floor of the Assembly. The impact of the introduction of Welfare Reform has been harrowing and was felt by people well before the pandemic.
The Resolution Foundation estimates that people who have been forced to move to Universal Credit have experienced a 47% drop in their income. “In 2019/20 one single organisation, the Trussell Trust distributed over 45,000 3-day emergency food parcels in Northern Ireland.
“One in five children from Northern Ireland lived in poverty before the onset of the pandemic. 42% of people in Northern Ireland were already in fuel poverty.
“There is much that can be one and that neds to be done to rectify this situation. “Legislation is needed to extend the welfare mitigations and close the loopholes in the bedroom tax and benefit cap mitigations.
“The five week wait for Universal Credit which plunges people into poverty and financial vulnerability must be dealt with. The disgusting and shameful two child tax credit cap must be scrapped. The six month rule for terminal illness and PIP must be removed.
“Funding for our independent advice sector must be protected so that people can receive the right support and advice as they go through the social security process.
“Finally, we must address the situation where private renters are at greater risk of poverty and housing stress, as well as addressing the lack of affordable rental properties.
“Positive action to assist some of the most vulnerable people in society is required as part of a just transition – not hypocritical and meaningless Assembly motions.”