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“Ritchie must work to lift ban on ‘supporting people’ programme” – McCann

8 December, 2008 - by Fra McCann

Sinn Féin MLA for west Belfast, Fra Mc Cann, has written to the Minister for Social Development, Margaret Ritchie, asking her to lift the inflationary freeze imposed by her department on groups delivering the Supporting People programme.

Supporting People is a housing related programme whose aim is to assist the most vulnerable in society such as the homeless, the mentally ill, victims of domestic violence, vulnerable older people and those people suffering from drug related illness.

Although Supporting People escaped the 3% efficiency savings, an inflationary freeze was imposed on the programme which will effectively result in job losses as well as impacting negatively on other projects with closures and indefinite delays.

The Social Development Committee meeting on Thursday 4th December was addressed by some of the groups affected including the Simon Community, Women's Aid and Shelter to voice their concern at the impact this decision will have.

Fra mc Cann said,

"This is a disgrace; this decision will have a huge impact on the neediest in our society and the Minister of Social Development must reverse her decision and lift this inflationary freeze immediately.

The best Christmas box Margaret Ritchie can give to these groups is to admit that she made a mistake and reinstate the inflationary increase without further delay." End

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