‘Cuts will put more on the dole’ – McKevitt
SDLP South Down MLA Karen McKevitt said she is deeply concerned that the welfare cuts coming down the line from London will not only hit people who are out of work but will directly put more on the dole.
Speaking to Newry Times, McKevitt said: “Our headline unemployment rate is 7.6% but what worries me more is that our economic inactivity rate is 26.9% – more than a quarter of adults are out of the labour market for one reason or another.
“That is more than five percentage points above the average for Britain and is yet more proof that the cuts will hit harder and deeper here. We have the additional problem that we are disproportionately dependent on public-sector jobs and some of them are going to go in these cuts.
She added, “Reference has been made to 1630 jobs likely to be cut in a reform of Universal Credit. I tried to get some sense out of Social Development Minister Nelson McCausland in the Assembly this week but his answer was short on fact and long on childish political insult.
“We know that there are deep concerns among economists and trade unionists that the cuts could put thousands directly on the dole and thousands more indirectly as reduced purchasing power hits retail and service employers.
“We need strong political leadership more than ever, strong enough to stand up to London. That is not what we are getting.”
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