Page last updated at 15:17 GMT, Wednesday, 30 June 2010 16:17 UK

Welfare Reform Bill

Social Development Minister Alex Attwood brought the Welfare Reform Bill for approval to the assembly on 30 June 2010.

The bill gives Northern Ireland corresponding provision to that contained in the Westminster Welfare Reform Act 2009, by introducing mandatory "Work for your benefit" schemes and changes to community care grants.

The minister said the "Work for your benefit" programme would assist jobseekers move closer to the labour market and move out of welfare.

However, he said it would only be introduced in Northern Ireland following pilots in four areas of Britain and after there was a full evaluation. This could be several years down the line, said Mr Attwood.

There was a higher uptake of the Disability Living Allowance in Northern Ireland than in Britain and it was his understanding there were good reasons for this.

The minister said he had tasked departmental officials to develop a matrix explaining why uptake was higher and the reasons for this, including community health profile and multiple levels of deprivation. These factors needed to be appreciated by Westminster, said Mr Attwood.

The bill passed its final stage.


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