Stewart Dickson MLA said: “I warned that the financial penalties of not implementing welfare reform will have a detrimental impact on essential public services. It is shocking that the health service will lose out on £68million as a result of political games between Sinn Fein and the SDLP. Following recent problems at our Accident and Emergency departments, we can ill afford to take this money out of the health budget.
“The SDLP and Sinn Fein must now explain to the public why they are prepared to let the health service and our schools lose out on £100million of funding.
“We have already achieved a number of concessions from Westminster and we have now lost out on any goodwill from the Government. All political parties must now come together and agree to allow this Bill to proceed through the Assembly. This is the only way that we will be able to make any further refinements to this legislation to help protect the most vulnerable.”