31/10/2012

Call To Oppose Welfare Bill

SDLP Social Development spokesperson Mark H Durkan has said 1630 people who will lose their jobs in the administration of benefits through the passing of the Welfare Reform Bill will most likely be added to dole queue under the universal credit system.

He was speaking after NIPSA told the DSD Committee that 1630 job losses were confirmed in the Social Development's own outline business case.

The Foyle MLA reiterated his claim that DSD Minister Nelson McCausland has failed to properly disclose the full scale of job losses emanating from the introduction of universal credit.

He said: "The SDLP has aired our opposition to the bill based on the impact it will have of those on benefits and the most vulnerable in society. The massive irony of this is that the 1630 people who will initially lose their jobs as a result of the introduction of universal credit will most likely end up seeking benefits.

"The outline business case revealed to the committee by NIPSA confirms this. The business case estimates that 1,630 jobs (35% of the current workforce) will be lost across the SSA, NIHE and HMRC if the Welfare Reform Bill passes.

"These people have real fear about their jobs and about their future. Morale within the workforce is low at a time when they are busier than they ever have been due to mass unemployment here.

"The minister and his party have continually tried to deflect the story away from these job losses by stating that there will be job losses if the bill is not passed. Furthermore my own attempts to acquire information around the impact on jobs have been thwarted. I believe that this has been a blatant attempt to deflect attention away from the devastating impact that welfare reform will have both on existing benefits claimants and benefit processing staff."

(CD)

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