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As it is the Government's intention that the long-established and widely accepted principle of parity with Great Britain should remain the basis for provision of social security in Northern Ireland, it follows that the impact of the proposed reform on single persons, pensioners and low-income families will be generally the same in Northern Ireland as in Great Britain.
May I help the hon. Gentleman a little further? Has he seen the calculations by Dr. Eileen Evason, which show that single people in Northern Ireland stand to lose an annual total of £8·9 million, pensioners £11·4 million, low-income families £3·3 million and families as a whole £8·8 million? Will he tell his right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for Social Services that the people of Northern Ireland have suffered enough deprivation?
I must tell the right hon. and learned Gentleman that I have seen those figures. I pay tribute to Dr. Eileen Evason for the valuable work that she does in the Province. However, her figures are speculative and mainly based on the likely size of the social fund, and that has as yet not been decided.