Social Democratic and Labour Party Homelessness Spokesperson and Belfast’s Deputy Lord Mayor Paul McCusker has called on Sinn Féin Ministers to reverse budgetary decisions that would see important support services stripped from the most vulnerable.
Cllr McCusker has appealed directly to Finance Minister Conor Murphy and Communities Minister Deirdre Hargey to U-Turn on the allocations that would see:
•A £1.5m cut to the advice sector during an employment crisis
•The postponement of previously announced programmes aimed at addressing youth unemployment and childcare costs
•The cessation of work to amend terminal illness rules and mitigate the British Government’s two child rule.
Cllr Paul McCusker said:
“If the budgetary allocations proposed by these Sinn Féin Ministers are implemented, it will have a crippling effect on people who have already been disproportionately affected by the Covid-19 pandemic.
“It is incredible that, in the middle of an unemployment crisis, no resource allocation has been made to support the independent advice sector. That represents a £1.5m cut to advice for people who, many for the first time, find themselves in need of welfare support as a result of the pandemic. It is unconscionable.
“The Sinn Féin Finance Minister’s budget and the cuts proposed by Communities Minister Deirdre Hargey would also see the immediate cessation or curtailment of efforts to amend rules to fast track support for people diagnosed with a terminal illness. That is unspeakably cruel and would break a pledge contained in New Decade New Approach.
“At a time when we are all struggling, we have to pull together to support those most in need. These budget proposals would have a crippling effect on those least able to shoulder further burden. I am calling on the Ministers to urgently address the situation and reverse the proposals before more people are made to suffer.”