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Assembly cuts to rates relief can be stopped

THE insincere declaration by former finance minister Sammy Wilson that cutting rates-relief payments is the "least-worst option" will be of no comfort to the 40,000 low-income families this will impact on.

According to the market research company Mintel, 80% of families in Northern Ireland have been forced to change how they shop, cook and eat as a direct response to price-rises.

This is before the recent hikes in electricity costs of nearly 18%.

In 2012, Save the Children found that one-in-10 children in Northern Ireland is living in severe poverty.

But, rather than hold the banks and big business to account, Sammy Wilson sent a clear message which side the Government is on. But the Assembly is weak and divided and their cuts can be stopped if a co-ordinated and united campaign across trade unions, anti-cuts groups and communities is developed.

PAT LAWLOR

Socialist Party, Belfast

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