The Strangford MLA said: “This is outrageous news that people who were affected last festive season will now face similar problems this Christmas. The five pence payment for every pound lost is totally derisory and must feel like yet another kick in the teeth for those affected. Add to this the fact that it will not reach people before Christmas, and this feels like the worse kind of Scrooge story.
“The fact that over 3,000 people locally are affected by this just shows how big a problem it is here.
“Many of these people find paying for Christmas hard enough but I worry that some people will not be able celebrate Christmas as they would like to due to the lack of a payment.
“I would urge the Government to do all they can to make sure that there are no future crises like this in future.”