East Derry SDLP Assembly Member John Dallat has warned that the introduction of Welfare Reforms will have a critical impact on the people of East Derry which includes Coleraine and Limavady. He said:
“Slowly but surely people are coming to realise just what the impact of Tory cuts will have on the lives of working families and with millions of pounds taken out of the economy as a direct result of these savage cuts the wider business community will be hit with a vengeance.
‘East Derry, still reeling with the loss of thousands of jobs in manufacturing, the virtual decimation of the construction industry and the gradual bleeding of jobs in the public sector, cannot absorb these planned cuts without a serious impact on the lives of everyone and in particular those who are most vulnerable.
“Cuts to Housing Benefit are resulting in increasing levels of homelessness. People who are suffering serious physical and mental illnesses are being stripped of their benefits and told they can work despite the fact that they can’t and even if they could there are no jobs for them.
“With the Welfare Reform Bill looming this situation will become even more desperate with those who are still on Disability Living Allowance getting a cut of one fifth of their benefit despite how the Tories and the DUP here try to present it.
“A whole catalogue of cuts in benefits including Tax Credits, Pension deferments and others will make the most vulnerable in our society even more vulnerable with virtually nothing to live on, nowhere affordable to stay and a future which will bring only misery, increased levels of poor health and a general decline in the quality of life which will impact on everyone.
‘The Assembly needs to seek and accept greater operational and legal flexibility on how welfare reform is dealt with in the North to protect those vulnerable people who are most at risk.’