Ritchie challenges Secretary of State on Welfare cuts
Speaking during Northern Ireland questions at Westminster Margaret Ritchie, the SDLP MP for South Down, has warned that the Conservative government’s welfare cuts will damage the Northern Ireland economy and hurt the most vulnerable in society.
Ritchie called on the Secretary of State to make a proper impact assessment of the welfare cuts in Northern Ireland: “It is clear from the Secretary of State’s response that his department and the Department of Work and Pensions have done little or nothing to develop a comprehensive impact assessment for welfare reform cuts in Northern Ireland. With the economy back in recession and youth unemployment on the rise we need to protect rather than vilify those who bear the brunt of the government’s failure to grow the economy and create jobs.”
“These cuts will remove over half a billion pounds from the Northern Ireland economy in the coming years and will impact on the least privileged within society. The SDLP have always stood up for the most vulnerable and we have grave concerns that these measures will plunge more people into hardship and long term poverty.”
She added, “Most worryingly, Sinn Fein and the DUP seem content to pass these measures on directly to the North of Ireland. The DUP even claimed that only one person in the North would be effected by these measures, a figure that has since been shown to be completely without basis. People in Northern Ireland have the right to ask for more from their Assembly than nodding through Westminster legislation.”
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