Anticipated unemployment of 105,000 (15%) within four years and somewhere between 20 and 25 thousand jobs losses in the move from health related benefits to Universal Credit has prompted the SDLP in East Derry to organise its own activities towards opposing and minimising the impact that these Tory-inspired cutbacks will have across the whole of society and particularly in an area already reeling from job losses over the last five years.
East Derry SDLP Assembly Member John Dallat said: “The local economy is already reeling from cuts of up to £400m which is having a profound impact on local shops and businesses and nowhere is this more critical than in towns and villages dotted across East Derry.
“We have arranged to bring motions to local councils in Limavady and Coleraine while our MPs at Westminster are bringing forward and supporting amendments to the Bill to minimise not only the impact on those on benefits but working families in low to middle income who are on Working Tax Credit and Child Tax Credit.
“We are also keen to meet with as many people in Civic Society, Churches, Community Organisations, Women’s organisations and the wider public with a view to raising awareness of the impact these sweeping changes will make to individuals, families and the wider community.
“We are also inviting people who care to come forward and join our party to help us drive forward our campaign to oppose and minimise these cuts which are only beginning to bite.
“Ninety-four per cent of the cuts planned by the Tories have yet to be introduced according to the Institute of Fiscal Studies with many more austerity measures yet to be implemented. As a constituency in East Derry there is much to be done by our elected representatives but also by our party activists who have been trained in benefit identification. We want to hear from you and our staff is ready and willing to help at both our offices in Limavady and Kilrea.”