Belfast Telegraph

Thursday 17 April 2014

SDLP in bid to reduce welfare cuts

The SDLP has said that it will propose another ‘Petition of Concern’ in the Assembly in a bid to minimise welfare cuts in Northern Ireland.

Earlier this month, the SDLP urged Sinn Fein to support a joint Petition of Concern to bring the Welfare Reform Bill down.

It would have meant a majority vote from both unionist and nationalist sides of the Assembly being needed for the legislation to progress. But Sinn Fein refused.

Speaking ahead of another week of discussions on the bill, the SDLP’s social development spokesman, Mark H Durkan, said he would make a proposal for extra scrutiny of the bill today in the Assembly “as part of the SDLP’s continued efforts to ensure (Social Development Minister) Nelson McCausland is forced to test the boundaries of parity to the utmost”.

“Indications from Sinn Fein suggest that they have changed their minds and now accept that scrutiny, in terms of human rights legislation in Northern Ireland, is needed. We welcome this recognition even at this stage,” he said.

A Sinn Fein motion is expected to be put to the Assembly today.

It asks “that the Northern Ireland Human Rights Commission be asked to advise whether the Welfare Reform Bill is compatible with human rights”.

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