Derry advice services ‘stretched to the limit’

Back row Karen Mullan MLA with Kevin Higgins from Advice NI, with in front, independent advice services workers from across the city.
Back row Karen Mullan MLA with Kevin Higgins from Advice NI, with in front, independent advice services workers from across the city.

Sinn Féin Foyle MLA Karen Mullan has said it is crucial that welfare advice services in Derry receive adequate funding.

She was speaking following a meeting with independent advice services and Kevin Higgins from Advice NI.

The Foyle MLA said: “Over the past the number of weeks I have held meetings with the independent welfare advice service providers across the city to hear at first-hand the work they do on a day-to-day basis, and what plans are in place to deal ongoing changes within the welfare system.

“It’s quite apparent that workload being placed on these organisations is massive and they are stretched to the limits. Kevin Higgins from Advice NI heard the concerns from the services providers at first-hand at this weeks meeting.

“Amongst the concerns raised by groups was the introduction of the Tory Universal Credit policy and the impact it will have on people in our communities. This policy is riddled with faults, complications and delays, including ridiculous waiting times for payments. It must be scrapped.

“Independent advice groups need adequate funding to be able to fulfil the vital role in providing help and assistance to members of the public.”

Ms Mullan has also raised other concerns with Department for Communities, Permanent Secretary, Leo O’Reilly. “They have agreed to look at this and come back to us,” she said.