‘Need to protect the most vulnerable against the Tory Welfare reform agenda’ – Brady
Sinn Féin Welfare spokesperson Mickey Brady MLA hosted a public meeting in the Tí Chulainn centre in Mullaghbawn on Tuesday night past on Welfare Reform.
There was a sizable attendance at the meeting, which was open to all members of the public and focused on the upcoming changes to welfare rights and the whole benefits system.
Panelists at the meeting included Sinn Féin elected representatives Conor Murphy MP and MLAs Megan Fearon and Mickey Brady.
Speaking from the top table Mickey Brady said,
“The Tory Welfare cuts will drive more people into poverty. These cuts will not only affect people on benefits but will also impact on lower income families, the disabled, the unemployed and the elderly, all of whom are vulnerable members of our community.
“These Tory cuts are out of touch with our economic climate and people’s social circumstances here. People who receive benefits could be penalised, if they have under occupancy of rooms in their houses, but we know that the average household in the north has three/four bedrooms.
Brady continued, “If the Tory cuts are implemented they are setting a cap on benefits per household and the frequency of payment would be changed from weekly to monthly. We are aware that this will not suit everyone so we are calling on them to let the recipient decide what suits them best.
“People seem to have the impression that Welfare Reform will only affect those on benefits. This is not the case, even if you have been working for a long period of time and you become sick you will only be entitled to one year’s sick pay.”
MLA Megan Fearon brought the implications that the Tory cuts could have on young people to the floor.
Ms Fearon said, “The welfare reform bill is supposedly being introduced to tackle the issue of poverty, in reality it is simply attacking the poor and most vulnerable people in our society. Within the British cabinet, 23 out of 29 are millionaires.
“They have no understanding of the struggle some people go through on a daily basis just to feed their families. They have no understanding of the despair young people feel in having to leave their homes and emigrate to find work and opportunity that is simply not available here.”
Brady concluded, “Greater fiscal autonomy is required in the north, there is a need to protect the most vulnerable in our community against the Tory Welfare Reform agenda. I hope that people have a greater understanding and awareness of the bill after this meeting.”
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