Mark H. Durkan welcomes bid for £55m to mitigate £20 Universal Credit cut

A bid by Communities Minister Deirdre Hargey to secure £55m in the October Monitoring round to mitigate the withdrawal of the £20 Universal Credit uplift has been welcomed by local MLA Mark H. Durkan.

Mark H. Durkan
Mark H. Durkan

The SDLP social Justice spokesperson said: “I’m glad that the Department for Communities has finally listened to our calls to take action and mitigate against the removal of the Universal Credit uplift for some 130,000 households here.

“The SDLP have consistently and vociferously lobbied Minister Deirdre Hargey, calling on her to liaise with the Finance Minister and Executive colleagues to prevent plunging people further into poverty.

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"It has taken an Assembly statement, motion and adjournment debate as well as multiple proposals from myself for Minister Hargey to look beyond merely writing a letter to the Department of Work and Pensions," he claimed.

He said the proposed cut will have an impact on many people.

"From this week onwards hundreds of thousands of people, including 84,000 children will see a reduction in their income. They can’t afford any delay that would see them slip further into debt. Ensuring this money gets to those who need it most, in my eyes, constitutes an emergency.

“Emergency legislation must be enacted now so struggling individuals and their families are not impacted by the same delays which we’ve witnessed with Welfare Mitigations. I sincerely hope the Finance Minister, Conor Murphy will move quickly to approve this crucial bid to keep the lifeline for hard pressed people and their families," he said.