Communities Minister Deirdre Hargey MLA today met with key stakeholders to reaffirm her commitment to extending welfare mitigations beyond 31st March 2020.
The Minister met with Les Allamby from the NI Human Right Commission and Professor Eileen Evason, Chair of the NI Welfare Reform Mitigations Working Group.
Speaking afterwards Minister Hargey said: “I wanted to meet Les and Eileen at an early stage to give them an assurance that in line with what was agreed under the New Decade, New Approach deal there should be an extension to the existing mitigations beyond March. The Human Rights Commission, the Cliff Edge Coalition, and grass roots organisations have done sterling work over recent months to champion this much needed extension to ensure the most vulnerable in our society are protected from welfare cuts.”
The Minister explained that she is currently looking at bringing legislation forward in the coming weeks that will extend the mitigations beyond 31st March. She said: “In the absence of the various Welfare Reform policies coming to an end we need to protect those most in need and the poorest across our society. These mitigations, and the associated support provided by the advice sector, have proven that they have done that. There is of course emerging mitigations that need to be looked at as we review the welfare system and I will continue to work with stakeholders in moving forward with that.”
The Minister concluded: “We as a society will be judged on how we protect the most vulnerable and my role, as Communities Minister, is to stand up for the poorest and most disadvantaged in society, to target resources towards those most in need and to ensure that we do have a rights based approach to the provision of services going forward.”
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