Failure to reform welfare ‘costs £1bn’

Published Monday, 10 February 2014
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Finance Minister Simon Hamilton has warned that failure to implement Westminster's welfare reforms could cost Stormont over £1bn by 2019.

Failure to reform welfare ‘costs £1bn’
The letter, seen by UTV, was circulated by minister Simon Hamilton. (© Presseye)

The details were released in a letter sent to ministers.

Mr Hamilton outlined concerns that changes to Northern Ireland's computer system could cost hundreds of millions of pounds. He added that over a thousand jobs could be lost.

UTV's Political Editor Ken Reid, who has seen the letter, said it appears the battle over welfare reform has now stepped up.

"This letter was sent out to Nelson McCausland and other Executive colleagues where he spells out the cost to Northern Ireland if welfare reform is not implemented," Ken Reid said.

"The headline is that 1,400 jobs would go in the Department of Social Development.

"Simon Hamilton says that the overall cost to the Northern Ireland exchequer would be £1bn by 2019 and changing the computer system would initially cost £300m but it could rise by changing the whole system in Northern Ireland to as much as £1.8bn.

"He also points out that £15m has already disappeared from the budget for this financial year, so really the whole battle over welfare reform has stepped up."

© UTV News
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6 Comments
Ken Webb in Wales wrote (253 days ago):
No mention of how many lives?
Stephen in Belfast wrote (254 days ago):
For once I am glad some of our MLA's are holding out for a better deal, look at the mess on the main land re ATOS in reassessing disabled people, I have spinal injury and I welcome assessment but not with a stacked deck just to kick people of benefit they are genuinely entitled too. It is a bad deal for disabled people and regardless of block grant financial penalty I hope all our elected reps face this down and renegotiate a fair deal for those who find themselves on benefit through no fault of their own.
norman.d in bangor wrote (254 days ago):
The DUP are trying to do the Tories dirty work hitting the poorest in society while bankers give themselves big bonuses the money Stormont squanders would cover the fines imposed by Osborne and the Tories
Equality in Belfast wrote (254 days ago):
The DUP did not challenge the Tories enough. The set up and people are totally different here as to England. There are more extreme circumstances here due to the war. And it is on both sides of the walls. The DUP were afraid to rock the English boat too hard. Go back after having a ling hard debate in stormont just like we elected you to do and do the job we are paying you to do. This deal is bad for us you can go and get more.
Elizabeth in Belfast wrote (254 days ago):
Why does everything come down to money if the welfare teform comes here will we have the same problems as England and Wales with bedroom tax and benefit sanctions or don't people who are sick and disabled matter here either Mr Hamilton
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