“Margaret Ritchie putting jobs at risk” – Ní Chuilín
North Belfast Sinn Féin MLA Carál Ní Chuilín has said that the lack of clarity from Minister for Social Development Margaret Ritchie about the future of the Neighbourhood Renewal Scheme is putting hundreds of jobs at risk.
Ms Ní Chuilín said,
"Everyone knows that Margaret Ritchie is trying to off-load her responsibility for neighbourhood renewal onto local government but the worrying aspect is that she is trying of off-load this responsibility with no clear commitment to provide funding for local councils to carry out this function.
"There is no certainty of whether or not the funding will be put in place. This is causing a great deal of stress and concern not just for those people employed within the community and voluntary sector but also for many people living in deprived areas who could end up losing these vital services..
"Many of those employed through Neighbourhood Renewal Scheme have their contracts coming to an end at Christmas or in March. Margaret Ritchie should stop playing games with people's livelihoods and set out very clearly how she plans to retain these vital posts.
"What we are getting from Minister Ritchie is a lack of clarity and as a result of that people in marginalised communities will suffer greatly."