Local MLA calls for action over universal credit cut
SDLP Lagan Valley MLA Pat Catney has urged Sinn Féin ministers to act to protect people in the constituency from the £20 weekly cut to Universal Credit (UC).
The latest figures from the Department for Communities show that there are 5,450 UC claimants in Lagan Valley.
The SDLP this week launched its ‘Give it Back’ campaign urging Communities Minister Deirdre Hargey and Finance Minister Conor Murphy to fund the uplift if the British government proceeds with the cut.
The Lagan Valley MLA said: “People in Lagan Valley and across the North are already struggling, all this cut will succeed in doing is pushing people further into poverty.
“As people struggle to emerge from the coronavirus pandemic they are facing massive increases in the of living with food and utility prices increasing dramatically.
“The need for this £20 uplift is greater than it ever has been and removing it is cruel and unnecessary.
“The British government are taking money away from the people that need it most and we simply cannot sit by and do nothing.
“We have our own welfare powers and Ministers Hargey and Murphy need to get their heads together and find the £55m, less than 0.5% of the Executive’s budget, to safeguard this money.
“We also need to see a long-term strategy to address poverty in areas like Lagan Valley, with the North shamefully having some of the worst levels of poverty in all of Europe.
“I would urge people to come together to sign and our petition and support our campaign to save this uplift for the people who really need it.”