‘NI political parties must kill off bedroom tax in Assembly’ - call

Protestors taking part in a demonstration against the bedroom tax. (0704MM10 )
Protestors taking part in a demonstration against the bedroom tax. (0704MM10 )
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Local community workers and politicians have attended a protest in the city centre against plans to introduce the controversial ‘bedroom tax’.

The protest was organised by Dove House community advice centre and was held outside Richmond Chambers in the Diamond.

Waterside Sinn Féin councillor Lynn Fleming, who attended the protest, said she hoped all parties in the Assembly would act to block the introduction of a bedroom tax.

“A lot of people in Derry are very worried about any attempt to introduce a bedroom tax here. There has been a lot in the local media over the past few months about this tax.

“As elected representatives we have to do all we can to block this draconian measure. Martin McGuinness has already stated publicly that Sinn Féin will block this tax. I hope as we move to the crucial stages of the Welfare Bill that all parties see sense and stop its introduction,” she said.

Meanwhile, Foyle SDLP MLA Mark H Durkan welcomed a suggestion from Social Development Minister Nelson McCausland that the welfare package he intends to bring forward will allay fears.

Mr Durkan said: “This is a positive hint from the Minster that he has taken on board the SDLP’s concerns and the concerns others have expressed about the savage Tory welfare cuts. This hint is welcomed but the public need more than hints here and there.

“People are asking questions about how welfare cuts and the bedroom tax will affect them and their loved ones. The Department for Social Development is giving nothing away and as a result, confusion and fear is growing.

“It is time for the Minister to move beyond making positive noises to making positive announcements.

“The SDLP has been consistent in its opposition to the Tory bedroom tax which will affect over 32,000 people in the north, many vulnerable, if it comes into effect.

“We won’t let this happen and will lodge our petition of concern if necessary to kill it.

“We are hopeful however that the Minister for Social Development has listened and will do the right thing and do it quickly,” he said.