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Welfare reforms will make our children worse off

In response to Paula Bradshaw (Write Back, May 1), while I totally agree that the education system is a mess, can I point out that the Executive has the power to sort it all out.

Unfortunately, we won't hold our breath waiting for the Executive to make a decision that might annoy the 'other side'.

Paula may dismiss the concerns over welfare reform and the effect that this might have on children (which is surprising as she has a community background in the Village area), but I find it hard to dismiss the fact that, in Northern Ireland, we are handing out food parcels to families.

Paula needs to check out www.storehousebelfast.com. Storehouse is a project providing emergency food parcels to struggling families all across Belfast.

According to Advice NI, they dealt with more than 260,000 inquiries - the majority of which were welfare benefit-related, but also housing and debt inquiries.

As Kevin Higgins, of Advice NI, said: "Previous welfare cuts and recession have driven up demand for advice services, but now additional factors include the rising cost of living, rising fuel costs affecting people's ability to adequately heat their homes, the uncertain financial climate and the re-emergence of the phenomenon of negative equity."

So, the practical reality of the present is that children across Northern Ireland are already suffering. The welfare reforms are hardly likely to improve that.

OBSERVER

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