Belfast Telegraph

Stormont department spends over £1,000 on cakes marking Universal Credit

A Stormont department has spent £1,125 on cakes to mark the rollout of Universal Credit in Northern Ireland.

The Irish News has reported that the Department for Communities (DfC) spent the money on 40 cakes featuring the Universal Credit logo for staff at team building events across Northern Ireland.

Universal Credit was rolled out gradually in Northern Ireland from September 2017, the process finished earlier this month.

The new system merged six previous benefits into one and has come in for criticism with many recipients complaining of delays in their first payments and cuts to their benefits.

The Trussell Trust which runs foodbanks across Northern Ireland has said that the introduction of Universal Credit is expecting to lead to greater demands at foodbanks this Christmas.

A DfC spokesperson told the Irish News that the cakes were purchased to recognise the hard work of staff.

"This was a significant and challenging implementation effort for the department, involving the recruitment and training of almost 2,000 staff across 40 locations throughout the province," the spokesperson said.

"To mark the completion of this task, a total of £1,125 was spent to purchase 40 cakes which were shared amongst 2,000 staff at team building events across Northern Ireland.

"The cakes were provided to mark the end of the introduction of Universal Credit, recognising the commitment and hard work of staff in delivering the new service to customers across Northern Ireland."

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