The department which oversees housing, welfare, benefits, arts and culture is facing a shortfall of £111 million and shortage of around 600 frontline staff.
These pressures will have far reaching implications that will hit hardest for vulnerable households.
Said the Foyle MLA: “I’ve grave concerns about what these cuts will mean for people on the ground; it’s clear they will hit hardest for some of the most vulnerable individuals and families within our communities.
“In real terms the department won’t be able to meet their target for new social housing build for 2022/23.
“This will have dire consequences for the 44,000 households waiting desperately for suitable housing across Northern Ireland.
“The department’s social housing build budget saw a £19 million reduction in 2020/21 and missed over half of their target for 2019/20.
“While we’ve seen targets recover somewhat since the pandemic, thousands of families remain in housing need with 32,000 deemed in housing stress.
“In addition, DfC are proposing cuts to Discretionary Support which has provided a lifeline for many people in emergency circumstances, helping with short term living costs.
“Sadly, this support has been a crutch for some households to simply cover the basics such as food or keeping the lights on as costs continue to rise.
“Most worryingly the department has planned to move all legacy benefit claimants on to Universal Credit by 2024.
“That move will start with Tax Credits and could see households worse off without appropriate mitigations in place or the emergency financial support to help them cope with the transition.”
Mr Durkan added: “There will also be funding implications for Arts Council, Libraries NI and Northern Ireland Housing Executive.
“It is utterly mindboggling that the DUP see fit to put political posturing above people.
“They can no longer turn a blind eye to the suffering within our communities.
“As poverty deepens, it’s abominable that people are left without the bare minimum support from a government they elected to have their best interests at heart.
“End the siege of Stormont now.”Tags: