A Sinn Féin delegation, led by Alex Maskey MLA, who is also chair of the Social Development Committee have outline the party’s concern to the British government’s Welfare Reform Bill.
Speaking today Mr Maskey said:
“This was our first engagement with the new British Secretary of State, Theresa Villiers, on the issue of Welfare Reform.
“At this meeting we raised a number of concerns we have with the bill and made it clear that the Tory led Welfare Reform bill is unacceptable to Sinn Féin in its current form.
“There is a range of issues that we want to see addressed. The Tory cuts agenda is not just an attack on benefits but these cuts will impact on lower income families, the disabled, the unemployed and the elderly, all off whom are vulnerable members of our community.
“Ms Villiers for her part acknowledged that once again we have tabled a range of concerns and she indicted that she will continue to explore how these concerns may be addressed with her British government colleagues.
“While I welcome this commitment from the Secretary of State I did reiterate that Sinn Féin would be unable to support this bill in its current form.“Sinn Féin will seek to make fundamental changes to this bill as it passes though the Assembly.
“It is imperative that we seek to protect the most vulnerable in our society and reduce the impact of this bill by working with the Social Development Minister Nelson McCausland, the British government, and the many concerned sectors within our society.”