Other News In Brief

Man Convicted Of Benefit Fraud

A man has been convicted for claiming £21,458 benefits he was not entitled to at Belfast Crown Court.

William Hill claimed Jobseeker's Allowance, Employment and Support Allowance and Rates Rebate totalling £21,458. He was given a nine month prison sentence suspended for 12 months.

The fraud was uncovered following an investigation by the Department for Communities.

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

Dual Carriageway To Be Upgraded In Banbridge

Work is to start to improve and upgrade a dual carriageway in Banbridge, Co Down.

Contractors will begin work on the A1 dual carriageway on Sunday, 11 February, and is expected to be completed in three weeks.

The scheme, designed to improve safety for motorists, involves the erection of a central reserve safety barrier between Springwell Loanin and Bannview Road Bridge on the Banbridge Bypass. The temporary traffic management required to carry out the works safely will consist of a 40mph speed restriction and lane closures adjacent to the central median in both the northbound and southbound carriageways.
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Alliance Brexit spokesperson Stephen Farry MLA has expressed deep concern after Downing Street insisted the UK would not remain in the Customs Union after Brexit.

Concerns Raised Over Customs Union Decision

The Alliance Deputy Leader said the statement saying the UK would not be in the, a or any Customs Union with the EU had massive consequences, particularly for Northern Ireland.

He said: "This announcement poses major implications for the avoidance of a hard border on the island of Ireland, as well as the implementation of the EU/UK joint report from phase one of the Brexit negotiations. A hard border can only be avoided if the UK as a whole or Northern Ireland as a specific region is part of the same customs arrangement as the rest of the EU," he said.

"It must be clearly understood continued participation in the Single Market, either by the UK or specifically Northern Ireland, as Alliance has proposed, is essential to not only avoiding a hard border but also to protect north-south co-operation and the all-island economy.

"This decision also goes completely against the advice of the business community UK-wide and ignores the implications of the Government's own economic analysis. The departure from the EU customs arrangements would separate the UK from its nearest and largest trading partner, and would be hugely counterproductive to our economic well-being."


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