Universal Credit should be halted here - Colr.

Colr. Brian Tierney. (DER0314PG016)
Colr. Brian Tierney. (DER0314PG016)

SDLP Councillor Brian Tierney has reiterated the SDLP’s call for a halt in the roll out of Universal Credit until there is urgent reform of the system.

Colr. Tierney said the delay announced by the British Government in effect will inflict greater hardship and suffering on people.

The Ballyarnett councillor made the call as the British Government confirmed the next stage of the universal credit rollout is to be scaled back.

Universal Credit was introduced in Derry and Strabane in January and February 2018 and in Limavady prior to this in September 2017.

Colr. Tierney said: “The SDLP has been consistently clear that scaling back Universal Credit is not good enough.

“Its roll out must be halted until there is urgent and radical reform, not least when it comes to the minimum five weeks wait for first payment and the ‘two child rule.’

“The delay in moving people onto Universal Credit is an admission by the Tory government that this system is flawed and is causing hurt and hardship, but this delay does not protect people.

“In effect, it means more people are likely to lose out and be worse off as they are left to move on to Universal Credit under managed migration or premature migration where they will automatically lose the premiums they are currently receiving and rely on to make ends meet.”

Colr. Tierney also accused other parties in Northern Ireland of opening the door for Universal Credit to come in, and said local people needed a functioning Executive to address its failings.

He said: “It is also interesting to hear parties like Sinn Féin who, along with the DUP and Alliance, voted to enable the introduction of Universal Credit in the North, now call for it to be scrapped. Placards and Press Releases won’t protect people from this cruel and flawed system.

“People need and deserve to have an Executive and Assembly that takes real and meaningful action to tackle the failings of this cruel system,” he added.