FM 'crossed the line' on welfare reform

FM 'crossed the line' on welfare reform

Martin McGuinness has accused Peter Robinson of "crossing the line" by saying the First and deputy First Ministers had agreed a deal on welfare reform.

It comes after DUP leader Mr Robinson claimed agreements were reached but that Mr McGuinness was unable to sell it to senior Sinn Féin members in the Dáil.The deputy First Minister has disputed the First Minister's version of events.Mr McGuinness said: "I raised the issue of welfare cuts once at 10 Downing Street with the British Prime Minister and twice with the Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg at the Cabinet Office."Peter Robinson never offered one word of support for a rethink on welfare cuts and the only support I received was from my Scottish colleagues."The only way to resolve these issues is by mature leadership, sitting down with Executive colleagues and finding a resolution rather than grandstanding on the media and presuming to speak for me."Mr Robinson, speaking to the BBC, had said: "We are elected to do a job, we took on that responsibility, that responsibility goes beyond being able to open nice new buildings and hearing the applause from the people for the benefits that might be derived from that. "I know the slowdown that is taking place in terms of getting decisions taken because the decisions that we might take might cause difficulties for Gerry Adams and his colleagues in the Dáil."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.Sinn Féin described the predictions and warnings as "scare tactics".

© UTV

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