SDLP MLA for Mid Ulster, Patsy McGlone, has said the Secretary of State should commit to the extension of the welfare reform mitigation package if an Executive is not restored.
Mr McGlone said, “Tens of thousands of families across Northern Ireland are facing immediate hardship if the welfare reform mitigation package is not extended.
“Unless a NI Executive is in place to renew it, the current mitigation package will end next year.
“The SDLP have raised this with the Department for Communities and they have confirmed that it would be possible for some elements of the package to be extended through discretionary housing payments, but it would impose a significant administrative burden on vulnerable people and DfC staff.
“This is a crisis for people in all of our communities. If the parties responsible cannot resolve their differences in order to protect the most vulnerable, it will be their political failure. Those least able to bear the burden should not be forced to pay the price for that failure.
“The Secretary of State should give a commitment on behalf of the British Government to advance the legislation necessary to extend the mitigation package. This is beyond party politics. We must all work together in the interests of those most in need.”