Housing Benefit (Welfare Supplementary Payment) Regulations (Northern Ireland) 2017

Part of Executive Committee Business – in the Northern Ireland Assembly at 12:30 pm on 16th January 2017.

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Photo of Carál Ní Chuilín Carál Ní Chuilín Sinn Féin 12:30 pm, 16th January 2017

Our position on abstentionism from Westminster has always been out. When the elections are on, we have always put our case to the public, and on the basis of an abstentionist approach, the public have returned us. If you are questioning the public's ability to make a rational decision on a vote, you do that. At a time when you were making silly points, with respect, your party was hitching itself to the Tories to implement cuts here and right across, irrespective, with no mitigation packages and no protections — absolutely nothing. I am accepting what the Member is saying with a very, very small pinch of salt.

On protecting people, I am glad to see a review built into this legislation — these regulations that are coming forward — particularly on the change of circumstances. Without a review, it would have been perhaps ridiculous, because you would see the potential for people who were downsizing property and actually saving the public purse money to be penalised down the road. So that makes a lot of sense.

I am also happy that there will be processes, perhaps through social landlords, to ensure issues for other circumstances. The Minister outlined management transfers and all the issues relating to that. There are also people who fall between some of those categories through no fault of their own, and that needs to be taken into consideration.

I am quite proud — I will take no lectures from Paul Givan or any member of his party — of our stance on our protections for welfare reform.