21/12/2016

Other News In Brief

Man Convicted Of Benefit Fraud

A man has been convicted for claiming benefits he was not entitled to at Lisburn Magistrates Court.

David Chivers claimed Jobseeker's Allowance and Housing Benefit totalling £3,652 while failing to declare employment. He was given a two year probation order.

He is also required to repay any outstanding money wrongfully obtained to the Department for Communities.

Call For First Minister To Take Responsibility Over RHI Scheme

The Ulster Unionist Party (UUP) has called on the First Minister to take responsibility for the botched Renewable Heat Incentive (RHI) scheme.

Mr Roy Beggs MLA has questioned why Arlene Foster did not seek to minimise the £400 million additional cost of the scheme when she was Finance Minister.

He said: "Alarm bells about the Renewable Heat Incentive have been ringing for some time, with an email from a whistle-blower outlining concerns in 2013. Arlene Foster when DETI Minister took the policy decision to copy the GB Scheme minus the cost protections, a mistake which our schools, roads and hospitals will undoubtedly suffer the consequences of.
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"In May 2015 she became Finance Minister, knowing the details behind the scheme why did she not engage with her counterpart in DETI, Jonathan Bell some 20 months ago?

"Was she trying to put distance between herself and the scheme? Or, did she conveniently avoid publicly disclosing the hundreds of millions of liabilities that have occurred and could have interrupted her coronation as First Minister?

"Or, was she avoiding the disclosure of wasting hundreds of millions of pounds during the run up to the Assembly Elections?"

He also called on Mrs Foster to step aside while a full investigation is being carried out.

New Arts Council NI Chair Appointed

Arts Minister Paul Givan MLA has announced the appointment of Mr John Edmund as the new Chair of the Board of the Arts Council NI.

The appointment is for a term of up to four years from 1 January 2017.

Minister Givan said: "I am pleased to make this appointment as Mr Edmund brings a wealth of skills and experience, as well as a passion for the arts, to the Board of the Arts Council NI. The organisation plays a crucial role in encouraging our society to access and to become fully involved in arts and culture, and I am confident that Mr Edmund will lead the Arts Council NI in progressing and developing the arts."

(CD)

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