Belfast Telegraph

Church leaders' fears on welfare reforms

Social Development Minister Nelson McCausland has met with the leaders of the four main churches to listen to their concerns over welfare reform proposals.

Mr McCausland has responsibility for implementing the welfare reform proposals and has previously highlighted the importance of ensuring support for the vulnerable.

Speaking after the meeting with Archbishop Alan Harper of the Church of Ireland, Cardinal Sean Brady of the Catholic Church, Methodist president the Rev Ian Henderson and Presbyterian Moderator the Rt Rev Dr Ivan Patterson, Mr McCausland said: “I recognise the concerns many have regarding the proposals to reform the welfare system.

That is why I invited the church leaders to outline their concerns to me. I believe that our churches and other faith-based organisations have a valuable role to play in serving the neediest in our society.

“It is generally accepted that our welfare system is complex and increasingly expensive to run, so reform is essential.

“As the church leaders have said, while they support reform of the welfare system, they also have concerns about some of the welfare reform proposals.”

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