‘Falling apart universal credit programme must be abandoned’ – Ritchie
SDLP South Down MP Margaret Ritchie has called on what she described as the unworkable ‘universal credit’ programme to be abandoned.
Speaking in the House of Commons during Question Time, Ritchie told the Minister of State for Northern Ireland Andrew Robathan the programme– designed to shake up the benefits system – was “falling apart”.
Ritchie said, “The government’s welfare reform proposals, including the CAP, will hit hardest of all in Northern Ireland, and will cause a severe cost of living crisis on those already struggling most.
“It is my contention the Universal Credit project is unworkable, and is falling apart. Mr Robathan did not agree with me and, indeed, went on to say he looks forward to the Northern Ireland Assembly making progress on the welfare reform bill so people can look forward to greater prosperity.
“However, the SDLP has always argued that if we continue with the Welfare Reform Bill in its current form people in Northern Ireland will most definitely not enjoy greater prosperity.
Ritchie added, “That is why the SDLP has consistently argued that welfare reform proposals are unworkable and unfair, and that we must negotiate harder. At an Assembly level, our spokesperson for Social Development, Dolores Kelly and other party colleagues will keep up the fight.”
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