Stormont facing £100m welfare penalty

Published Tuesday, 01 April 2014
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The Stormont Executive is facing a potential £100m penalty over its failure to implement Westminster imposed welfare reform.

Stormont facing £100m welfare penalty
Stormont could have cuts imposed on its budget. (© Getty)

Finance Minister Simon Hamilton has said he has received a letter from the Treasury in London outlining the amount of money which is to be taken out of this year's budget if spending cuts are not put in place.

Sources have told UTV how the penalty will be imposed across the various departments in the Executive with health being the biggest loser.

The Department of Health, which has faced severe criticism recently over the strain it is under, could lose £68.2m.

Education could lose £29m, Justice £16m, the Regional Development £5m, while Social Development faces a near £10m cut in its spending.

Sinn Féin have dismissed the warning as "scare tactics".

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

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

Mr Hamilton told UTV: "The Executive needs to take a decision as to what to do on welfare reform and the fall out of not proceeding with welfare reform.

"What the Executive, Sinn Féin and the deputy First Minister need to do is to show leadership and proceed with welfare reform on the very attractive basis that Nelson McCausland has negotiated for us," the DUP MLA said.

Sinn Féin MLA Alex Maskey responded: "It is really immature for Simon Hamilton to adopt this approach.

"If he got a letter over the weekend he should take it to the Executive and it should be discussed by the Executive instead of making these silly announcements that all of a sudden he is taking £70m off the health budget.

"He doesn't have the right to make that decision."

© UTV News
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12 Comments
culchy in the stix wrote (209 days ago):
As usual the DUP and their ilk side with their Tory-British paymasters. This isn't England. This isn't Great Britain. This is Northern Ireland and we're fed up getting the s*** end of the stick. We should not be blackmailed into forcing undue hardship on our most vulnerable members just so David Cameron can get an ivory backscratcher.
gerard in belfast wrote (211 days ago):
boboneil i have been saying that for months now i even left a comment last night but be hold utv never put it up i also am no fan of S/F but u have to say out off all the so called partys they r the 1s who seem to be for all the people of this country of ours as we all know to cut these wefare payments it is the sick and less well off who need these payments but what ever the dup like the nhs the housing and now the welfare they have done notthing but mess it up any 1 can go on the internet and see if am wrong
Dee in Newtownabbey wrote (211 days ago):
Disgraceful. Punishing the weak, poor and vulnerable for the excesses of the rich, powerful and wealthy. Taking money off the poorest in society. What about the tax breaks for the rich that the government have introduced? What about the like of Google and other huge multi-national companies being allowed to scam off billions in unpaid tax? Go and chase that instead of penalising those who you will meed less resistance from. It's complete cowardice. And I'll tell you why it happens - because money talks. The rich & wealthy who get these tax breaks are sharing their drawing rooms and dinner parties with those who pass on these punitive measures to the rest of us. The world is corrupt to the core. The British govt and those who support them on this should hang their heads in shame. Regardless of party politics everyone should be behind Sinn Fein on this. I, and many thousands like me across the political spectrum, are eternally grateful for their principled stance on this.
norman.d in bangor wrote (211 days ago):
no money for health education and pay rises but plenty for overseas aid and wars costing billions this Austerity is aimed at the poorest while the rich go untouched and avoiding their taxes
Brian in Belfast wrote (211 days ago):
Its funny how there's never any money for welfare, health or education but when it comes to wars , there's plenty.
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