The Treasury has imposed a £5million a month financial penalty for the failure to implement welfare reform which will rise to £10 million in the next financial year.
Stewart Dickson MLA said: “Sinn Fein and the SDLP must stop playing games on welfare reform and be honest with the public over what possible minor changes we can hope to achieve. Their refusal to admit reality over welfare reform is a major contributory factor to our current budget difficulties, including the cuts that have been making headlines in recent days.
“The Alliance Party opposed welfare reform at Westminster; however, the reality is that we have little choice but to pass this legislation with minor changes. We have already achieved a number of concessions, but the UK Government is unlikely to grant us any further changes.
“While they are holding out for unachievable and unrealistic aims over welfare reform, our public services will suffer as a consequence. We have already seen several of our Ministers outline the impact of these cuts on their Departments’ budgets.
“Sinn Fein and the SDLP are being reckless with our public finances. They should be ashamed of themselves for the fines that we paying Westminster; money that could be spent protecting public services.”