Belfast Telegraph

Stormont welfare cuts debate: Sinn Fein motion calling on Executive to oppose 'Tory cuts agenda'

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The Stormont Assembly is debating the ongoing logjam over welfare reform in Northern Ireland today after a Sinn Fein motion was raised calling on the Executive to oppose the "Tory cuts agenda".

The motion is set to argue that welfare reform has already had a "disastrous impact of welfare cuts in Britain, particularly on the most vulnerable in society including families on low income".

Today's debate comes as Westminster is preparing to call all-party talks in a last ditch attempt to break the logjam at Stormont and save the power-sharing institutions from collapse.

The talks are being viewed as a final push to save Stormont as divisions between Sinn Fein and the DUP over welfare reform strain to breaking point.

Since changes to welfare reform are not being introduced here, the State is paying more in welfare benefits than the Treasury believes it should, and the excess is being clawed back from the block grant.

The funding loss is £87m this year, but it will rise year-on-year until it reaches £1bn.

Today's proposed debate on welfare:

That this Assembly notes with deep concern the disastrous impact of welfare cuts in Britain, particularly on the most vulnerable in society including families on low income, those with disabilities and those who are unemployed; asserts that a modern, caring society should place the protection of its most vulnerable citizens at the very top of its agenda; and calls on the Executive to oppose this Tory cuts agenda.

Further reading

D-day for Stormont as Theresa Villiers plans crunch talks to end deadlock 

Peter Robinson hopeful of £87m bonus for striking welfare deal

Stormont crisis: Outside pressure is vital if a deal is to be secured

We need the Americans: Only British, Irish and US governments can kick-start Northern Ireland's peace process 

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