Dickson: SDLP and Sinn Fein must stop political grandstanding over welfare reform

Alliance Social Development spokesperson, Stewart Dickson MLA, has said that the SDLP and Sinn Fein must end their political grandstanding over the introduction of welfare reform legislation. Northern Ireland will be fined £5million a month for the failure to implement the Bill, however the Finance Minister has claimed that in the long term the cost will be £1billion to introduce a new computer system.

Stewart Dickson MLA said: “While the SDLP and Sinn Fein take part in political grandstanding, £5million will continue to be taken out of our schools and hospitals every month to pay Westminster fines for the failure to implement this legislation.

“The fine of £5million is just a short term cost. In the long term, if we do not implement this legislation, the cost will be astronomical, with the Finance Minister suggesting a figure of £1billion for a new computer system.

“The SDLP and Sinn Fein have claimed that they are blocking the legislation to achieve a better deal for Northern Ireland from Westminster, however the reality is that any further concessions will result in a major financial cost to our budget.

“I do not support every part of this legislation; however the place to have opposed this Bill was Westminster.

“The SDLP and Sinn Fein must stop their political games and act in the interest of the whole of Northern Ireland by taking part in constructive negotiations between the political parties to discuss what possible key refinements can be made as the Bill goes through the Assembly.”


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