SDLP Foyle MLA Mark H Durkan has hit out at Social Development Minister Nelson McCausland for failing to inform the public about job losses flowing from the implementation of Universal Credit.
Mr. Durkan was speaking after hearing evidence from NIPSA regarding the Welfare Reform Bill during a meeting of the Social Development Committee today at Stormont. Mr. Durkan said:
During their evidence to the Social Development Committee NIPSA outlined their concerns about the adverse implications of the Welfare Reform Bill. Of particular relevance are the figures they highlighted in “The Outline Business Case” which has been produced by the Department of Social Development. The business case estimates that 1,630 jobs (35% of the current workforce) will be lost across the SSA, NIHE and HMRC if the Welfare Reform Bill passes.
I had asked the Minister earlier this month to outline the number of job losses that would occur as a result of the implementation of Universal Credit. No answer was forthcoming from the Minister regarding the proposed staffing pool for Universal Credit.
In fact the Minister has stated continuously that jobs would be lost if the bill failed. During the highly publicised debate on Welfare Reform the DUP contended that 1500 jobs could possibly be, might well be and finally would most probably be lost due to our opposition. I dismissed this as scaremongering at the time.
It has now been confirmed that in fact job losses will occur if indeed the bill is passed. The Minister must now account as to why those figures were not disclosed and why he has it appears been disingenuous.
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