Alliance Communities spokesperson Kellie Armstrong MLA has called for legislation to be moved urgently to ensure welfare mitigations will continue.
Without new legislation, the current package of mitigations are due to end on March 31. Strangford MLA Ms Armstrong said clarity was needed quickly for the thousands of people who benefit from mitigations.
“Welfare mitigations were created to try and shield people from the worst impacts of welfare reform. If they are no longer in place, the number of families and children living in financial stress and poverty will increase,” said Ms Armstrong.
“At present, there are only two sitting days left before the Assembly takes Easter recess and 15 days until the end of the current welfare mitigation packages for people on benefits here. Five months ago, an Alliance motion to remove the so-called ‘six-month’ rule was supported unanimously in the Assembly, including the Communities Minister pledging to bring forward legislation to fix the issue. But we are still waiting for movement.
“I have called repeatedly for the review of welfare mitigations to be presented in time for the new financial year. It is time we gave people confidence and assurance the issues facing them will be dealt with. We are currently living with poverty instead of being provided with solutions to come out of it. We are at the cliff edge and need to stop before we go over it.”