Ritchie challenges PM over Universal Credit trial

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Tuesday, April 30th, 2013
SDLP South Down MP Margaret Ritchie has challenged the Prime Minister on the implementation of the government’s welfare reform proposals. Ritchie was speaking during Prime Ministers Question recently and stated, “It was revealed last month that the Universal Credit pilot trial was being scaled back and that three pilots were being pushed back to July due to IT problems. “I have grave concerns about the content of these reforms and it would seem that there are already serious problems with the computer system upon which the reforms will rely. The UK government do not seem to have learned anything from the disastrous implementation of the new Work Capability Assessments. “The Prime Minister, in his response to my question, seemed to suggest there were no problems with the implementation of the Universal Credit trial. Given the reported issues I will be seeking further clarification on this. “I will also be seeking assurances that such problems will be taken into account when designing the dedicated system that will be needed to implement Universal Credit in Northern Ireland. “The SDLP are the only party to consistently oppose these reforms from the beginning and it is critical that key mitigation measures are put in place in Northern Ireland. Ritchie added, “We are deeply concerned that the implementation of this policy will be disastrous and we will be relentless in seeking to protect people from the worse impacts of a poorly considered plan that will hurt the most vulnerable in society.”
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