28/02/2017

Other News In Brief

Two People Convicted Of Benefit Fraud

Two people have been convicted for claiming benefits they were not entitled to at Belfast Magistrates' Court.

Noirin Campbell claimed Income Support and Housing Benefit totalling £982 while failing to declare employment. She was given a 12 month conditional discharge.

John Donaghey claimed Jobseeker's Allowance and Housing Benefit totalling £15,677 while failing to declare employment. He was given a 120 hour Community Service Order and ordered to pay court costs of £31.

Both are also required to repay any outstanding money wrongfully obtained to the Social Security Agency.

Refurb Work Complete At WwTW In Co Down

Refurbishment work has been completed at a Wastewater Treatment Works (WwTW) in Co Down.

NI Water invested a total of £8million in Newcastle WwTW which will deliver an improved standard of discharge to local bathing waters in line with future European Directives.

As well as major refurbishment work at the existing WwTW, a major new extension was built which included an additional UV treatment stream and an extensive stormwater storage facility.

The eco-friendly 'green roof' of the new extension is also a highlight and NI Water's project team worked closely with architects, engineers and local landscape experts to develop a visually-pleasing design for the roof of the new extension. The roof has been planted out with low-maintenance, native vegetation that will not only provide a natural habitat for birds and insects, but will also present an attractive landscape, which blends in with the scenic harbour area.
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Alliance Claims Schools Have Been Neglected For Too Long

Alliance Strangford candidate Kellie Armstrong has said the Education Minister has neglected schools in the area for too long.

Ms Armstrong was speaking after the principals of 15 schools in the Newtownards and Comber area wrote to parents highlighting the financial difficulties they face.

Kellie Armstrong said: "I wholeheartedly support this letter from the 15 Principals setting out the dire financial situation they have been placed in by the Education Minister. Principals have estimated that over the last five years, their budget per child has risen by a paltry 0.9% while costs have risen by 14.5%.

"Schools are entering the new financial year without a budget, and so face uncertainty over the numbers of staff they can afford to employ. When faced with financial cuts, Principals have only two choices, cut staff numbers resulting in larger and merged classrooms or reduce the range of services available to children.

"This latest financial disaster comes soon after the Education Minister lost the opportunity to spend £47 million for capital projects in the shared and integrated sector this year. Our divided society wastes huge amounts of public money every year through segregation in social housing and education. There is a clear demand from parents for integrated education and supporting this sector helps break down barriers and improves community relations.

"It is time the Education Minister and the Education Authority recognised the importance of guaranteeing adequate funding for our schools to give our children the best possible start to their lives."

(CD/MH)

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