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Parties help all constituents, regardless of religion

Published 29/07/2015

LAST week your paper ran a story about a DUP councillor providing assistance to a constituent involved in a benefits appeal.

The context of the story suggested that this was newsworthy, because the constituent was a nationalist and, therefore, unusual.

I found it unusual that this would be considered an exceptional case. I assist constituents with appeals on a regular basis - as I know others do from all political parties.

The political outlook or the religion of the appellant is never an issue to be considered and my perception is that this is the case across all the parties.

The story does, however, flag up a key issue in relation to the appeals process: that individuals who seek assistance from those with specific training have a better chance of success at appeal.

Increasingly there is a perception that those assessing benefits err on the side of caution and against the applicant.

Some applicants will accept the decision and others will represent themselves without any understanding of the process. Irrespective of politics or religion, if you have been refused a benefit to which you believe you are entitled, speak to your local Citizens Advice Bureau, independent advice centre, or local politician from any party.

CLLR STEPHEN NICHOLL (UUP)

Mid & East Antrim Borough Council

Belfast Telegraph

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