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£12bn cuts 'final nail in coffin' of Assembly: Sammy Wilson

By Steven Alexander

Published 21/07/2015

Warning: Sammy Wilson
Warning: Sammy Wilson

The House of Commons last night backed Government plans for £12bn in welfare cuts - a vote that represents the "final nail in the coffin of the NI Assembly", according to one local MP.

The Welfare Reform and Work Bill was backed at its second reading by 308 to 124 votes.

Earlier, acting Labour leader Harriet Harman had backed moves to reduce the household welfare cap and restrict tax credit and universal credit payments to two children, arguing that there was a clear public appetite.

Warning that the party's May election defeat showed it could no longer oppose all austerity measures, she announced its MPs would not oppose the Welfare Reform and Work Bill. But last night, 48 Labour rebels defied her to vote against the Government's welfare reforms.

Speaking during the debate, East Antrim DUP MP Sammy Wilson said: "I believe that this Bill will be the final nail in the coffin of the Assembly.

"Although Sinn Fein are not here tonight to raise the impact of these measures on people in NI, no doubt they will jump up and down in the streets of Belfast claiming that they are concerned about the impact on the vulnerable. It will join the other welfare measures blocked in the Assembly and the hole in the NI budget will grow even greater. The Assembly cannot survive another costly welfare reform crisis."

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