Sinn Féin Economy Spokesperson, Daithí McKay has called on the Minister Of Finance, Simon Hamilton to direct the expected £136million over the next two years from the British government’s Autumn Statement at the Bedroom Tax and alleviating the worst effects of Tory austerity policies.
Daithí McKay said:
“It is clear from the British Chamcellor’s Autumn Statement that his chosen path is one of continued austerity, hitting the most vulnerable.
“The new cap on welfare spending affecting all benefits except job seekers and pensions will place a squeeze on already stretched households. It will increase child poverty with families, low waged and the unemployed hit hardest
”The austerity programme has been extended for a further three years to 2018 which means five years of hardship, damage to the economy and increased unemployment.
“The £2.95 increase in State Pension will make no appreciable difference to the lives of our senior citizens and while the abolition of Insurance contributions for those under 21 will be welcome by SME’ it will make no difference to disposable income in the local economy.
”The increase in the block grant is welcome but will not mitigate the impact of austerity on the local economy. Therefore the Finance minister should seek immediate clarification regarding the potential impact the cap on welfare budgets will have on Executive programmes.
“The expected £136million from the Barnett consequentials should be directed towards alleviating the worst effects of Tory austerity policies including the Bedroom Tax."