Attwood’s comments on welfare proposals are ‘bizarre’

Alex Attwood.
Alex Attwood.

Sinn Féin MLA Raymond McCartney has said Alex Attwood’s comments following the publication of Professor Eileen Evason’s welfare mitigation proposals are simply bizarre.

Raymond McCartney said: “It is bizarre that Alex Attwood is welcoming the proposals put forward by Professor Eileen Evason and her panel when his party voted against the recent agreement and the budget, which will fund the mitigations.

“The SDLP rejected the Fresh Start Agreement which contains the half billion pounds welfare mitigation package worked on by Professor Evason and her panel of experts.

“They also voted against the budget which provides the funding for Eileen Evason’s mitigation package and have now in an extraordinary twist backed the panel’s report.

“This is cynicism of the worst type. The SDLP is clearly talking out of both sides of its mouth, and their increasingly negative role in local politics demonstrates a clear lack of direction.”

But a SDLP spokesman accused Sinn Fein of attempting to “fool all the people all the time”

“They said anyone who lost out on Universal Credit would be fully protected. Eileen Evason confirms that for most this will be for a year only.

“By surrendering welfare reform powers to London they signed up to a benefit freeze for four years with loss of welfare income totalling hundreds of millions of pounds to people in the north.

W”hen a self-proclaimed Irish Republican party like Sinn Fein handed welfare back to London in November, Martin McGuinness called it a technicality in January.”

The spokesman said the SDLP welcomes the Evason report.

“SDLP proposals that Sinn Fein and the DUP voted down in the Assembly are now elements in the Evason recommendations. This includes no-one suffering financial loss under the bedroom tax, protections for people on benefits with conflict related injuries and more availability of independent welfare advice. Egg is splashed all over the DUP and Sinn Fein faces. And people can see it.”