Published Thursday, 03 April 2014
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