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Ritchie in fraud plea

Tough new measures to tackle child maintenance fraud should be made law, the Social Development Minister has said.

The Welfare Reform Bill will create offences of failing to report changes in circumstances like moving home and increase the timescale allowing prosecution of those who provide false information, Margaret Ritchie said.

The second stage of the legislation was passed today at Stormont.

Ms Ritchie said: “This Bill is designed to help us further along the road to a simpler, more personalised benefit system.

“It is a Bill to ensure that parents take full responsibility for their children's upbringing and it is a good and necessary Bill.”

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