Around 20,000 homes in Northern Ireland are up to £70 a week worse off as a result of the Government’s welfare reforms, a political conference will be told today.
The annual gathering of the Workers Party is to hear a strong attack on the biggest shake up in the benefits system in 50 years.
Leader John Lowry will claim: “The recent rise in the minimum number of hours a couple need to work in order to claim working tax credit has made 20,000 households in Northern Ireland poorer by up to £70 per week.”
He will argue the reforms are impacting on the most vulnerable in the province, with changes to housing allowances leading to the number of private rental properties that are affordable to low-|income families dramatically reduced.
The attack comes ahead of a new statement on the issue from Social Development Minister Nelson McCausland to the Assembly following renewed negotiations with national government ministers that took place in London last week.
Mr Lowry is also to tell the one-day event at the Grosvenor Hall in Belfast: “Behind the hyperbole people in Northern Ireland struggle to achieve an acceptable quality of life and indeed struggle to live.
“Your postcode in Belfast determines your life expectancy. With every bus stop you pass from the city centre to the suburbs you can add on three or four years of life every time.
“By the time you reach the Upper Malone Road you’ll live at least 20 years longer than your neighbours in parts of the inner city,” said Mr Lowry.