‘Capped system has serious implications for Derry’ - warning

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SDLP Foyle MP Mark Durkan has said Chancellor George Osborne’s intention to move to a capped system of benefits expenditure - in this week’s Spending Review - has serious implications for future benefit levels in Derry and throughout the North.

Mr Durkan questioned the Chancellor in the Commons yesterday on the implications of the Spending Review for Northern Ireland, stressing that a capped system would hit vulnerable people here hardest because of higher rates of disability and long-term conditions in comparison to other regions of the UK.

Mr Durkan said: “My suspicion is that this change to annually managed expenditure will give the Treasury the means of capping and controlling social security benefits spend in Northern Ireland more directly.

“While the Chancellor tried to tell me that the cap would apply to the UK as a whole rather than Northern Ireland specifically, it was as though he was unaware that benefits in Northern Ireland are administered separately by the Social Security Agency here.”