Mid Ulster MLA inundated with welfare cuts appeals

SDLP MLA for Mid-Ulster Patsy McGlone
SDLP MLA for Mid-Ulster Patsy McGlone

SDLP Mid Ulster MLA Patsy McGlone has said his office is being inundated with appeals over cuts to the welfare system.

Mr McGlone said: “My constituency office and our local Councillors are currently being inundated with appeals of decisions on Employment and Support Allowance (ESA) and Disability Living Allowance (DLA).

“We are winning many of those appeals, overturning cuts to the benefits being received by those in need of support.

“There is a clear perception that the initial decisions have been made in an attempt to cut the cost of the benefit, regardless of the entitlement of the person applying.

“These people should not be made to go through the worrying process of appealing what is clearly an unjust decision in the first place.

“The further cuts that have been proposed by the British Government, and supported by the Social Development Minister, will simply magnify the problem.

“A lot of people are also very concerned about the implications here of yet more changes to the welfare system.

“There is a shortage of suitable alternative properties for families, single people, and others. Yet the proposal to cut housing benefit through a bedroom tax is not being matched by appropriate investment in new-build social housing.

“Without that investment further cuts to the welfare system risks forcing more people out of their homes with no prospect of finding affordable housing.

“The SDLP will continue to oppose any further cuts to the welfare system in the Assembly.”