Rogers expresses ‘grave concerns’ over Welfare Reform

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Thursday, March 21st, 2013
South Down SDLP MLA Seán Rogers has spoken out in opposition to the Welfare Reform Bill. Speaking to Newry Times, Rogers said, “We in the SDLP indeed welcome, and have argued for, the provision of a simple, more accessible benefits system and reform to prevent abuse of the welfare system by a minority. “But as we have consistently and vociferously stated in Westminster and in the Assembly – we do not accept the Welfare Bill, which as it stands, is a shameful attack on the vulnerable in our society. I have been looking into these plans in detail and fear for what is being proposed. “One example is the Personal Independence Payment (PIP) which is due to replace Disability Living Allowance (DLA) for people of working age. The parameters for this benefit are due to be shifted greatly with those on low mobility and low care most likely to have their entitlement affected. Rogers continued, “I have tabled a ministerial question in relation to the inevitable increase in demand for Occupational Therapists, as the PIP benefit places a great deal of onus on what adaptations /appliances are in the applicants home which assists with their disability. “Have there been strong lines of communication between the Department of Social Development and the Department Health regarding the additional demand which will be placed on the Occupational Therapy services across the North as a consequence of the proposed introduction of PIP?” “This service is already severely stretched with those applying for a grant from the Northern Ireland Housing Executive waiting months upon months on an assessment by Occupational Therapy. Rogers added, “It is clear that Northern Ireland is not prepared for, nor does it need, such savage cuts to our welfare system which are only designed to alienate the most vulnerable in our society.”
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