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It's time for the Executive to make hard decisions

Published 12/06/2015

Perhaps Eamonn McCann hits on a grain of truth in your paper (DebateNI, June 3) when he claims welfare reform is a put-up job; that this is all for political expedience.

Take all the glory for some last-minute political fix hoping in the meantime we forget about: the 355,000 people in relative poverty; the 230,000 people in absolute poverty, 195,000 people dependent upon low-paid, short-term employment contracts; one in six children in absolute poverty; the lowest disposable incomes in the UK (falling from 88% to 83%) and, families facing repossession of their homes standing at eight times the number in 2007.

We hear the call of those parties opposed to change; of the need to protect the vulnerable. Yet, perversely, programmes such as Steps to Success have been in limbo since March 31, 2015, further disadvantaging the very vulnerable groups they purport to protect.

As for welfare, those at Stormont knew from before 2010 that it was a Conservative manifesto pledge and, instead of being proactive and imaginative in terms of economic regeneration to minimise the impact of change, we are left with the catalogue of hardship above and the prospect of an increasingly dysfunctional (if not defunct) Executive.

It is past time for hard and difficult decisions to be taken, for pragmatic government, if this - and future - administrations are to earn the trust of the people.


Leader, Democracy First

Belfast Telegraph

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