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Welfare reform is just another U-turn for SDLP

On the budget debate in the Assembly the SDLP's Alex Attwood claimed that they had led Sinn Fein by the nose into opposing welfare reform.

I think if we look at the facts from the beginning of the introduction of the Welfare Reform Bill seven years ago and the original positions the parties took, we will see that this is revisionism of the highest order.

Seven years ago Sinn Fein opposed the bill, the same position it holds today, and they alone ensured that it was not passed through the Assembly without it being scrutinised at every turn.

At that time the Minister of Social Development who was responsible for implementing Welfare Reform was the SDLP's Margaret Ritchie.

When the bill was first brought before the Assembly Margaret Ritchie stated: "But this bill is not about forcing people off benefit and into work.

"Quite the contrary – it is about helping and supporting people to return to work when they are fit to do so."

If this wasn't bad enough she then attempted to pass the bill through the Assembly with accelerated passage without debate including supporting the bedroom tax.

It is therefore clear that it is the SDLP who have been exposed again as doing another U-turn on their original position and attempting to mislead the public through revisionism.

D Moore

Derry

Belfast Telegraph

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