Ritchie hits out at Tory plans for Welfare Reform

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Thursday, March 7th, 2013
SDLP MP for South Down Margaret Ritchie MP has hit out at the Conservative-led government’s plans for welfare reform. Speaking from Westminster following Northern Ireland Question time, she stated, “We in the SDLP believe in real welfare reform not this unfair reform. I am deeply concerned that the introduction of Universal Credit and the bedroom tax is going to hurt the most vulnerable in society. “It must be recognised that our society still bears the physical and psychological scars of decades of conflict and as a result has a higher proportion of people in need of welfare support. “The government has a duty to protect these people and must work with Social Development Minister to introduce further mitigation measures than those already proposed. She continued, “There must be some form of transition support and flexibility to support people as we move out of a period of conflict and the Secretary of State needs to raise this with her counterpart in the Department of Work and Pensions. “I am alarmed at much of the rhetoric that Conservatives have employed on this matter and believe this will only further marginalize people. Instead the government should be working to create growth in the economy that will provide job opportunities for people. Ritchie added, “It is disingenuous to castigate people for being out of work at a time when job opportunities are so scarce, especially for young people. I will continue to press the government on these matters today when I speak in the debate on universal credit.”
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