26/11/2009

Other NI News In Brief

Wilson Slams Banks

Speaking in the Westminster during a statement on the Government's £62bn bailout of the banks in 2008, DUP MP Sammy Wilson said yesterday that whilst he could understand the importance of the Bank of England lending as a last resort to ensure the liquidity of the banking system, this should have placed an obligation on them not to impose liquidity problems on their customers. He said this is happening through unlimited and unexpected withdrawals of overdrafts and loan facilities. The East Antrim representative and Stormont Finance Minister asked the Chancellor what action was taken to extract 'a price' from the banks for such continued public support. He said his question was prompted by the survey carried out by the Institute of Directors which revealed that 44% of their members had experienced a tightening of their financial circumstances due to banking practises. "I have received numerous letters from individual businesses in my role as Finance Minister, all of them telling the same story that thriving businesses are being choked by the withdrawal of finance by the banks," he also said afterwards.

Bomb Condemned

An explosion at a house in Londonderry earlier this week was caused by a pipe bomb, the chair of the local District Policing Partnership has said. The blast happened at the property in Glengalliagh Park in Derry at about 11.30pm on Tuesday. As no-one was in the house at the time, there were no injuries and DPP Chair, Elisha McLaughlin said the device, which was detonated in a built-up area, and could have caused serious injury. "I am making it clear to those responsible that the community does not want this. Those behind this bomb attack need to consider their actions," she said.

Water To Stay In Derry: SF
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Foyle Sinn Féin MLA Martina Anderson has said she has been assured that jobs in Derry's NI Water office will not be relocated: "I have been made aware of concerns among staff in the Derry office that a number of posts could be relocated out of the city," she said. "There are very specific concerns regarding workers based in the Mobile Work Management Unit of the NI Water office in Altnagelvin. However, I have made inquiries into these concerns and have been given assurances that neither NI Water or the Department for Regional Development plan to reduce job levels in Derry," she said, noting that she will be writing to the Minister Conor Murphy "seeking a formal confirmation of this position in order to allay the fears of staff".

Benefit Frauds Jailed And Fined

Two people were convicted at Belfast Magistrates' Court for claiming benefits they were not entitled to. This week, James Mackin, 21, of Alton Street, Belfast was given two months imprisonment to run concurrent with his present sentence for duplicate encashment of Income Support totalling £195. Elizabeth Haggan, 27, of Sydenham Crescent, Belfast was fined £300 and ordered to pay court costs of £40 for claiming Income Support and Housing Benefit totalling £3,468 while failing to declare employment. Both are also required to repay the money they wrongfully obtained to the Social Security Agency. This brings to 395 the total number of successful prosecutions this year.

Warm Winter

It will be a warmer winter for more than 300,000 people across Northern Ireland thanks to the Winter Fuel Payments from the Social Security Agency. Margaret Ritchie, NI Minister for Social Development, said: "While people aged 60 or over qualify for one payment of £250 per household, rising to £400 for those aged 80 years or over, there may also be people who are working who do not realise that they too are eligible. Most receive this important benefit automatically if they receive a State Pension or other social security benefit, however, I am concerned there are others, perhaps those not receiving any benefit or who are working, who do not realise that they are eligible. I encourage them to contact the Winter Fuel Payment Helpline to check if they can claim," she said.

(BMcC/GK)

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