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McElduff secures Assembly debate in opposition to Social Security Agency proposals

27 January, 2009 - by Barry McElduff

West Tyrone Sinn Fein MLA Barry McElduff has secured an adjournment debate in the Assembly later today to discuss a motion he has tabled calling for the suspension of the Social Security Agency's Strategic Business Review proposals to centralize the various sections of DHSS into back-room processing centres and to move away from face-to-face frontline services.

Barry McElduff said:

"Yesterday my constituency colleague Pat Doherty MP met with DSD Minister Margaret Ritchie and her officials as part of the continuing lobby to have these proposals suspended and today the Minister will be asked on the floor of the Assembly to do likewise.

"Yesterday's announcement that 150 additional staff are having to be taken on by the Social Security Agency to cope with the mounting uptake on benefits resulting from the deteriorating economic situation is ample evidence of the complete folly of continuing to pursue these proposals which would leave front line offices with skeleton staff unable to cope with the workload that would be expected of them.

"The very least the Minister can do in the current climate is to announce a freeze on the implementation of these proposals and I will be calling upon her to take decisive action on this front today." ENDS

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