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 […]

Armstrong questions when community and voluntary sector fund will be made available

Alliance MLA Kellie Armstrong has questioned when a multi-million pound fund designed to support the community and voluntary sector will be made to available to organisations to help them through the pandemic. The Department of Finance’s Dormant Accounts Fund takes money from dormant bank and building societies to support capacity and sustainability in the third […]

Solution needed for families without bank account to receive free school meal payment, says Lyttle

Alliance Education spokesperson Chris Lyttle MLA has said alternative methods of payment must be found for families unable to access free school meal payments during the coronavirus pandemic due to lack of a bank account. Mr Lyttle, Chair of the Assembly Education Committee, has raised the matter with Education Minister Peter Weir and questioned the […]

Armstrong welcomes plan for priority shopping slots to go to those shielding

Alliance Communities spokesperson, Kellie Armstrong MLA, has welcomed a way forward for those with shielding letters from their GP to be able to access priority online shopping delivery slots. The Access to Food programme has been organised by the Departments for Communities and Health, with the Health and Social Care Boards, allowing those with shielding […]

Armstrong welcomes extension of statutory sick pay for vulnerable

Alliance Communities spokesperson Kellie Armstrong MLA has welcomed the extension of statutory sick pay to vulnerable people unable to work due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The Strangford MLA was speaking after today’s meeting of the Assembly Communities Committee, which agreed the legislation to extend the sick pay, by adding a new category of people defined […]

Armstrong calls on Communities Minister to give assurances over Department’s ability to cope with benefit claimants

Alliance Communities spokesperson Kellie Armstrong MLA has called on the Communities Minister to give assurances her Department can cope with the surge in benefit claims in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic. The Strangford MLA said many workers made unemployed due to the COVID-19 outbreak were forced to move to benefits, however, concerns remained over […]

Armstrong receives assurances welfare mitigations will continue into the new financial year

Alliance Communities spokesperson Kellie Armstrong MLA has said she has received assurances from the Department welfare mitigations will continue to be paid into April. The Strangford MLA was speaking after questioning Communities Minister Deirdre Hargey regarding the mitigations, which are due to run out at the end of this month. That is despite the legislation […]

Welfare mitigations cliff edge approaching fast – Armstrong

Alliance spokesperson on Welfare, Strangford MLA Kellie Armstrong, has said the Communities Minister needs to move fast to extend the welfare mitigations that are due to run out on 31 March. Kellie Armstrong said: “Shortly after taking up her post, the Communities Minister confirmed that she would continue to provide mitigation payments to offset the […]