He said the calamitous policy which removes parents’ support entitlement for a third or subsequent child born after 6 April 2017, could see families missing out on over £3,000 per year.
Mr Durkan has written to the Secretary of State Chris Heaton-Harris and Chancellor of the Exchequer, Jeremy Hunt calling for a welfare support net for Northern Ireland.
Said the Foyle MLA: “Almost 7,000 families are already impacted by this callous two child benefit cap in the North. The policy introduced under Welfare Reform has been a key driver in rising child poverty across the UK.
“And I fear the situation will reach fever pitch in the months ahead with the planned migration to Universal Credit.
“The two child benefit has been an abject failure, unable to achieve its aims of incentivising parents to gain employment.
“The reality is that the majority of those impacted are working households.
“Instead this cap has exacerbated rates of poverty and I would argue is completely discriminatory in nature as it serves to punish the most vulnerable cohorts in our society; parents with disabilities and children.
“Its full impact is yet to be felt in the North but that impact will be profound given the prevalence of bigger families and in the context of the current political stalemate.
“This region also has the highest number of children living in low-income households when compared with other jurisdictions in the UK.
“The SDLP warned against the introduction of the shambolic Universal Credit system – those warnings went unheeded.
“I urged successive Communities Ministers to mitigate against this policy in previous welfare mitigation legislation and had hoped it would be addressed ahead of the transition of legacy benefits.
“The DUPs intransigence has prevented those protections being enacted. Now, the economic and social constitution of NI leaves the region primed for poverty.
“Families are battling against a cost of living crisis, stripped of a social security net and without a functioning executive.
“Westminster has a duty to urgently step in and reduce suffering.
“I’ve written to the Secretary of State and Chancellor urging cooperation to secure financial support to prevent spiralling levels of deprivation.”Tags: