Armstrong disappointed at Capita PIP extension

Alliance Communities spokesperson Kellie Armstrong MLA has said she is disappointed after the Capita organisation received an extension to its contract to deliver assessments for Personal Independence Payments (PIP). The organisation, which has received consistent criticism for its assessment scheme, will have its contract with the Department for Communities – initially due to expire in […]

Local Government should link up with Executive to provide jobs and benefit advice, says Eastwood

Local Government should be linked up with Executive Departments to provide a one-stop shop for those seeking advice around jobs, benefits, reskilling and training opportunities, Alliance Councillor Sorcha Eastwood has said. Councillor Eastwood was speaking after meeting with officials from the Department for Communities, alongside party colleague Kellie Armstrong MLA. She said a wraparound service […]

Armstrong disappointed after confirmation European advice service to close

Alliance MLA Kellie Armstrong has said she is disappointed after it was confirmed an advice service giving guidance on living and working in other European countries is to close at the end of the year. The European Employment Service provides information for those wishing to live and work in other European Economic Area countries, as […]

Universal Credit changes need implemented, says Armstrong

The recommendations of a new report which states radical changes are needed to the universal credit system should be implemented, Alliance Communities spokesperson Kellie Armstrong MLA has said. The report, commissioned by the Joseph Rowntree Foundation and co-authored by researchers from the University of York and Ulster University, says changes such as ending the five-week […]

Armstrong calls for additional pandemic benefit support to be extended

Alliance Communities spokesperson Kellie Armstrong MLA has called for additional benefit support provided during the pandemic to be extended for a further three months. A number of benefits provided by the Department for Communities during the coronavirus crisis are due to end, with weekly food parcels for those without a shielding letter already stopping last […]

Unacceptable dispute between two biggest parties holding back free school meal payments, says Lyttle

It is unacceptable a dispute between the DUP and Sinn Féin is resulting in a lack of funding for free school meals payments, Alliance Education spokesperson Chris Lyttle MLA has said. Executive Ministers did not sign off on the funding at their meeting yesterday (Monday). It is understood the DUP refused to do so following […]

Need for transitional protection to ensure no-one misses out on benefits, says Armstrong

There is a need for ‘transitional protection’ to ensure those moving from legacy benefits onto universal credit do not lose out, Alliance Communities spokesperson Kellie Armstrong MLA has said. The Department of Communities has confirmed its planned move to universal credit for all claimants, due in January 2021, has been postponed. This means anyone on […]

Armstrong disappointed by closure of emergency fund for artists

Alliance Communities spokesperson Kellie Armstrong MLA has expressed her disappointment after an emergency fund for artists has closed only a few days after opening. The Arts Council’s Artists’ Emergency Fund was designed to help support ‘individual artists, creative practitioners and performers,’ however, it has now been closed a week after opening. Strangford MLA Ms Armstrong […]

Armstrong welcomes suspension of debt collection but repayment clarification needed

Alliance Communities spokesperson Kellie Armstrong MLA has said while she welcomes the Department for Communities suspending debt collection for three months, the Minister needs to clarify repayment terms for those in arrears. Communities Minister Deirdre Hargey said her Department would pause the recovery of benefit overpayments and loan repayments from a number of social security […]