Belfast Telegraph

Westminster probes the impact of welfare reform in Northern Ireland

Nigel Mills
Nigel Mills
Adrian Rutherford

By Adrian Rutherford

Two Westminster committees have launched a joint inquiry into the impact of welfare reform in Northern Ireland.

It will examine the impact of welfare policy here, with a focus on issues such as Universal Credit and the two-child limit.

The review will be undertaken by the Northern Ireland Affairs Committee and the Work and Pensions Committee.

In 2016 the Executive established a social security 'mitigation' package, a pot of £585m of welfare funding to alleviate the impact of policies such as the bedroom tax and the benefit cap.

However, in 2020, this funding deal is due to end and there is no Executive in place to secure any future welfare funding settlement.

The joint inquiry will examine the potential impact of the funding ending in 2020.

The inquiry will also examine the impact here of the roll-out of Universal Credit, the new welfare system designed to combine benefits into a single payment for recipients.

It will consider the impact of the two-child limit as well.

Nigel Mills, who will chair the inquiry, said: "Without a government in Northern Ireland, serious questions about the impact of welfare policies remain unanswered and important concerns risk being ignored."

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