Belfast Telegraph

Peter Robinson bid to end Assembly welfare stalemate

BY Noel McAdam

Peter Robinson has asked for a special single-issue Executive meeting to attempt to break the stalemate over welfare reform.

But it has emerged the next scheduled Executive meeting will be on Thursday.

And that would mean it could be mid-June before an 'extra' Executive meeting can be arranged – even though Treasury fines for the failure to implement reforms are about to kick in.

The First Minister's demand comes after the Belfast Telegraph revealed he had suggested bringing in independent experts to end the deadlock with Sinn Fein over local implementation of the national welfare shake-up.

"At the last Executive meeting I asked for independent experts to be brought in to give us a set of figures on the implications, so that we would not be arguing about the figures," Mr Robinson told MLAs last week.

Sinn Fein has yet to make clear its attitude to Mr Robinson's plan, although senior Stormont sources said there was broad support from Ulster Unionist, SDLP and Alliance ministers to the arbitration proposal.

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