‘Tory Welfare Reform Bill could leave 6,000 young people homeless a year’ – Fearon

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Sunday, October 14th, 2012
Sinn Féin’s youngest MLA Megan Fearon spoke on the Assembly floor at the second stage of the Welfare Reform Bill. Ms Fearon stated, “These austerity measures being constantly pursued by the British Government will be extremely detrimental, as they continue to try and cut their way to recovery. As usual, those hardest hit will be the most vulnerable in our society- the unemployed, the sick, low income families and particularly the youth. “It was announced at the Tory party conference that there is to be a further £10 billion cut in welfare. George Osborne said how can we justify flats to young people who have never worked? He doesn’t seem to realise, it’s not that young people don’t want to work it’s that they can’t, the jobs simply aren’t there.” Fearon continued, “The Tories want to reform how housing benefits work it should be done on a needs assessed basis, rather than simply cutting off young people. This measure will leave an estimated 6,000 young people a year homeless. Already, 22% of people who present themselves to the housing executives as homeless are under 25. “This is another huge blow to young people who are trying to set up a life, where options for education and employment are already limited. Another worrying aspect of this bill as it stands, is that single parents whose child is aged five or over, must be actively seeking work and must take a job if one is offered.” “However unlike Britain there is no statutory provision in relation to childcare here, many people do not have a support system around them. This creates problems as potentially the cost of childcare would outweigh the financial benefits of people working.” Fearon added, “Although our proposal to defer the bill was defeated, we will continue to lead in demanding that there be changes to the bill so that there can be protection to low income families and young people.”
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