Judith Cochrane stated: “While many aspects of welfare reform have the potential to assist and empower people to move into employment and where appropriate to reduce their dependency on social security, a number of aspects are deeply controversial and counterproductive.
“The ‘bedroom tax’ is perhaps the most offensive aspect of the so-called reforms. Fundamentally, it is a dehumanising measure, which doesn’t adequately take into account personal circumstances the need for flexibility.
“But furthermore, in the particular housing circumstances of Northern Ireland, there are strong arguments that it is not only unsuitable but financially counter-productive. Our social housing stock is clearly not designed to facilitate such a measure
“There is now a strong case for the Minister for Social Development, the Executive and the Assembly adopting a Northern Ireland approach on this aspect of welfare reform, and to make a final case to Westminster for flexibility in this regard, and to consider all other options as to how common sense can prevail locally.”