THE latest report showing the positive impact of welfare top-up payments here is further evidence of the need to extend them beyond the planned end date next year, Sinn Féin MLA Karen Mullan has said.
The Foyle MLA was commenting after two Westminster committees produced a joint report calling for the mitigation package, agreed as part of the Fresh Start Agreement, to be continued beyond 2020.
Karen Mullan said: “When even Westminster committees are catching up with the positive impact of the welfare package in the North of Ireland, it is confirmation of what we have been arguing for some time – that mitigation measures should continue past the 2020 deadline.
“Without the £585 million benefits top-up scheme secured as part of the Fresh Start Agreement, we would be witnessing the same kind of increased poverty and inequality seen in Britain where the Tory assault on the welfare state has been waged without any protections for the most vulnerable.
“As Tory attacks on the welfare system and those most in need continue, it is vital that funding to protect the most vulnerable also continues.
“Where anti-poverty measures such as these have been shown to work, they should be protected and built upon and Sinn Féin will continue to seek agreement from the department and the other parties to ensure that is the case.”