Cochrane: Executive must step up to the mark

Alliance Finance spokesperson, Judith Cochrane MLA, has said that Executive Ministers must do more to avoid wasting public money. Her comments were made after a report claimed tenancy fraud which could be costing the Department for Social Development around £11million.

The Public Accounts Committee has just released a report which claims that DSD have not tackled the issue of tenancy fraud, involving potentially 2,400 properties. The report claims tenancy fraud denies accommodation to genuine applications, which has contributed to £11million being spent on hostels and emergency accommodation.

Judith Cochrane MLA said: “It is disappointing that the Department for Social Development has failed to address this issue in a comprehensive manner. There can be no excuse for not seeking to reduce the amount of money wasted on tenancy fraud, money which could be used to help mitigate the impact of welfare reform on our most vulnerable.

“I know my colleague, Stewart Dickson MLA, will be calling for officials to attend the Social Development Committee to give account for the fact that not only is this issue wasting a large amount of public money, but is also denying accommodation to genuine applications.

“As the Executive faces difficult decisions to resolve the current financial crisis, Ministers must step up to the mark and identify and tackle problems in their Departments where public money is being wasted.”


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