McCausland Says Welfare Reform To Create Winners and Losers
THE Department for Social Development has published the first in a series of reports which show the potential impact of Welfare Reform on local people across the Province.
The reports released today (Wednesday 27 February) which are based on the latest available data, examine for the first time how the proposed benefit changes will impact people in Northern Ireland.
Commenting on the reports, Minister for Social Development, Nelson McCausland, said: “The proposed changes to the benefit system here are the most substantial the Northern Ireland Assembly has ever seen. As a region, we have the highest levels of economic inactivity in the United Kingdom; there are over 120,000 households in Northern Ireland in which there is no-one working and there are over 60,000 children live in households where there is no adult working.
“I am encouraged to see that potentially 102,000 households will get more money under Universal Credit, however, I have serious concerns that 86,000 households may be entitled to less. That said, there is full protection in place at the point of transfer to Universal Credit as long as circumstances remain the same.”
Today’s reports, published by the Department, are based on the latest available data from the UK wide tax and benefits system and look specifically at the introduction of Universal Credit and the Benefit Cap.
Further reports on the impact of the introduction of Personal Independence Payment, Employment and Support Allowance, and housing related welfare reforms will be published in the coming weeks.
The Minister went on to say: “The report suggests that of the estimated 13,300 people that could be impacted by the Benefit Cap, around 620 may actually be affected due to safeguards in place to protect vulnerable groups including 3,510 households where there is a disabled child. The cap on the amount of benefit a household can receive will ensure that those who are unemployed do not receive more in social security payments than those who are in employment. This can only be seen as a positive move and one that is right for the taxpayer in Northern Ireland.
“I have said many times already that I have concerns about the potential impact of Welfare Reform on local people. I have been working closely with Ministers in Westminster to ensure that the particular needs of people here are taken into account, and I am pleased to say that I have made some progress in this regard. I will continue to work with Ministers in Westminster and with my Executive colleagues to mitigate against the most negative impacts of these reforms.”
Reports on the impact of the introduction of Universal Credit and Benefit Cap are now available athttp://www.dsdni.gov.uk/