FM 'nuclear' warning over welfare reform

Published Thursday, 03 April 2014
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First Minister Peter Robinson has said "nuclear options" will have be considered over the failure to implement welfare reform, which would force budgets to be re-written and departments having to make do with less.

FM 'nuclear' warning over welfare reform
Peter Robinson has called for welfare reform to be implemented. (© Pacemaker)

Both Sinn Féin and the DUP have been at loggerheads over the controversial Welfare Reform Bill.

The London Treasury has warned that if the controversial bill is not adopted by Stormont, penalties will be imposed amounting to millions of pounds.

The DUP argue that failure to implement the bill will have a devastating effect on the economy while Sinn Féin say it will hurt the most vulnerable in society.

Earlier this week Finance Minister Simon Hamilton warned that budgets will be cut with the under-strain health department losing around £70m.

However, Sinn Féin said the predictions and warnings were "scare tactics".

Speaking at an event on Wednesday, the First Minister said the Stormont budget will have to be completely redrawn and every department will have to cope with less funding if the bill is not introduced.

He also claimed that a deal was offered to Sinn Féin in May last year, but the deputy First Minister Martin McGuinness "couldn't sell it" to his party.

The DUP leader added: "Relations between the two parties have become more difficult since Sinn Féin won more seats in the Dáil."

Sinn Féin's Alex Maskey repeated claims that the warnings were "scaremongering".

He added: "The energy of the First Minister and the DUP should be concentrated on standing up to Tory cutbacks.

"Instead they are trying to explain away what is an unjustifiable assault on the working poor, the disabled and the unemployed."

"Welfare cuts do indeed represent a 'nuclear option' for the entire basis of the welfare state," the MLA added.

© UTV News
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5 Comments
William in east wrote (260 days ago):
I hope he does hand us back to British government before it's too late
rob in belfast wrote (260 days ago):
Nuclear option? Who does he think he is kidding? In other words, rather than look after the interests of the poor he will just hand back power to Westminster.
Taxi Paul in Belfast wrote (260 days ago):
Do not implement these so called 'Welfare reform', cut the budgets and make the individual departments budget their activities. Cutting wastage is a good place to start. Maybe our politicians could help by not taking so many trips abroad
Sam1690 in Ballysillan wrote (261 days ago):
Good on the DUP, it's about time they called Sinn Fein's leadership in to question, we will now see a cut in our block grant of £10bn over 5 years. Do Sinn Fein have no concept of public finance? Do they think money grows on trees? Do what is right, not what is popular amongst voters.
Margaret in belfast wrote (261 days ago):
This is lies people .. Uk government are bullying northern Ireland government to change and make the poor poorer so the rich can get richer.. just read all the story's this year from all the governments and read carefully between the lines and add the nonsense talk up and use will see what is actually going on.
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