Sinn Féin will be delivering leaflets across the city this week outlining its opposition to the British government’s welfare reform plans.
Councillors distributed the first of the leaflets outside the Jobs and Benefits office on Asylum Road last week amid growing concern that the planned cuts will increase levels of poverty in the city.
Colr. Paul Fleming there is considerable opposition to the welfare reform plans.
“Over the past few weeks there have been over 60 submissions about the proposed Welfare Reform Bill from various groups including Church leaders, trade unions, community and voluntary sector and disability groups. Each and every one of them have raised a wide range of concerns and not one supported this Bill as it stands.
“As we now move further into consideration of the bill we will continue to robustly scrutinise and intensively consult on this bill as we have promised we would do.
“The recent weeks have shown the extensive opposition to key elements of this Bill and clearly it is the responsibility of all parties to address these concerns,” he said.
Meanwhile, Sinn Féin has organised a public meeting in Strabane in opposition to the planned cuts. The meeting will be held in Ballycolman Community Centre on Thursday at 7.30pm.
It will be addressed by the chair of the Assembly’s DSD committee, Alex Maskey, as well as local MLA Michael Boyle and West Tyrone MP Pat Doherty.
Leaflets opposing the cuts will also be distributed in Strabane.
Speaking ahead of the meeting, Mr Doherty said; “We have organised this public meeting to firstly raise awareness about the detrimental consequences, for almost everyone in this community, of the Tory-led austerity cuts agenda as reflected in this proposed Bill, which is now before the Assembly. We will outline our party’s strategic approach in opposing this Bill and how we are demanding fundamental changes to it.”
Michaela Boyle said; “Strabane district is already an area of extremely high multi-deprivation and many of the proposed measures in this Bill would have a disproportionately negative impact on people of this community not least in terms of increasing hardship for lone parents; increase gender inequality within the family; increase housing stress, penalize the unemployed for the lack of jobs currently available and attack the right of those with disabilities to independent living.”