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Sinn Féin call for the suspension of Social Security Review

10 March, 2009 - by Mickey Brady

9 March, 2009

Sinn Féin MLA and spokesperson on Benefits, Mickey Brady, has today called for the suspension of the current social security services review. Speaking today following the Assembly debate on a motion calling for a suspension Mr Brady said:

"The ongoing review of social security services is threatening jobs and services right across the North.

"There are a number of factors that are in no way positive. The fact that jobs are being replaced with a phone system, the difficulties some people may have using such as phone system, and the fact that it is almost impossible to get through.

"This results of this review will exacerbate current levels of unemployment by reducing social security staff levels, with up to 490 job losses. On top of this such reductions would lead to staff shortages in benefit offices, especially front line services

"Following the economic downturn the levels of benefit processing and payments have increased vastly with the highest recorded levels of unemployment for decades. Social security staff have told me that they are already completely overwhelmed due to their lack of staff.

"This is not a time for cutbacks in this service and the Strategic Business Review must be ended. Rising overall unemployment would necessitate the exact opposite of this downsizing review.

"Sinn Féin have already called on numerous occasions for the Minister to suspend this review and I am now repeating that call for her to do so. We are not alone in this, other parties have called for this as has the DSD committee and now we have this motion in front of the Assembly - Margaret Ritchie must act now." CRIOCH

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