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Hollywood Road visit highlights further the need to suspend Strategic Business Review into Social Security

19 February, 2009 - by Mickey Brady

Sinn Féin MLA and spokesperson on benefits, Mickey Brady, following a visit to the Hollywood Road Social Security Office has stated that there is now a greater need than ever to suspend the Strategic Business Review into the social services.

Speaking following today's visit Mr Brady said:

"The DSD committee has already called for the suspension of the strategic review into the social services. Given the current circumstances of economic downturn to review and restructure the social services staff levels would have a detrimental impact.

"Having visited Hollywood social security office today and witnesses first hand the services that are provided I am now even more of the opinion that this review needs to be stopped.

"The front line services at the centre are essential and today's visit highlighted the interaction, information sharing, and face to face dealings with those who need this service the most. It in no way convinced me of the benefits of cutting staff and operating telephone service to deal with enquiries or claims.

"Any such cuts would create further levels of unemployment reducing staff levels, with up to 490 job losses. On top of this such reductions would lead to staff shortages in benefit offices, especially in the economic times, which see a greater demand for these services.

"As a result of the economic climate the levels of benefit processing and payments have increased vastly with the highest recorded levels of unemployment for decades. This is not a time for cutback in this service and the Strategic Business Review must be ended." CRIOCH

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