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Women are 'vulnerable' in welfare shake-up

People risk being forced into destitution by proposed welfare changes here, the Human Rights Commission has said.

Sanctions like reducing benefits for some who fail to meet new criteria may be discriminatory and women with childcare responsibilities or the disabled are particularly vulnerable, chief commissioner Professor Michael O'Flaherty added.

Assembly members are scrutinising welfare legislation, with Sinn Fein expressing serious misgivings about the impact of planned changes in back to work measures and other clauses.

The DUP has warned of the potential cost of delay on the welfare budget provided by Westminster.

Professor O'Flaherty said: “No-one as a consequence of these changes should find themselves without food, heat or shelter.”

He added: “We are concerned that the full impact on human rights remains unknown as the bill is wide-ranging and leaves so much to secondary legislation.”

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