Hamilton Says Tax and Welfare Reforms To Hit Poor

“I think that everyone has been deeply worried about what precisely will be the consequences of the Coalition’s wide ranging changes to both tax and particularly welfare, especially on the most marginalised in society. The Institute of Fiscal Studies report gives us some insight into what the effect on Northern Ireland will be and it is alarming. [caption id="attachment_20141" align="alignleft" width="223" caption="Strangford MLA Simon Hamilton is alarmed at a recent report indicating bleaker times ahead for many NI homes. "][/caption] “Their finding that HM Government reforms to tax and welfare scheduled to come into place between 2013/14 and 2014/15 will result in Northern Ireland experiencing the second highest average loss as a percentage of income in the entire UK is very concerning. “What is worse is the conclusion that the poorest fifth of NI’s population, which has high number of households with children and pensioners and have an average annual income of around just £10,000, will be 55% worse off in terms of their income. “Northern Ireland’s relative poverty, high levels of Disability Living Allowance claimants and larger proportion of households with children are the reasons that we will suffer more than most regions of the UK and it  is clear that vulnerable people here are going to be placed under even greater pressure than they are already are during these challenging times. “Whilst I welcome welfare reforms that are aimed at simplifying the social security system and help get people on welfare back into work, I am extremely worried that the effect on Northern Ireland could be a sizeable loss in income at a time when the cost of living is rising.  The constraints of parity mean that ours scope to do anything directly to deal with the negative impact of these reforms is limited but this IFS report highlights the value of the £20 million Social Protection Fund contained within the draft Budget” Mr Hamilton added.]]>