Page last updated at 15:06 GMT, Monday, 25 June 2012 16:06 UK

Urgent oral question: Ulster Bank

About 27,000 social security agency customers have been affected by ongoing problems at Ulster Bank, the social development minister told the assembly, on 25 June 2012.

Nelson McCausland was responding to an urgent oral question tabled by Sinn Fein's Phil Flanagan.

He asked how benefit claimants were affected by the computer software failure which has meant tens of thousands of customers have not been able to access their accounts, and wages have not been not paid in.

The minister said "everyone realised the seriousness of the situation" and explained that the technical problems meant that accounts had not been credited with benefits.

He explained that claimants would be able to collect funds up to a limit from the bank with proof of identification.

Mr Flanagan expressed "dismay that this crisis continues into a second week".

He said it was "shocking" that benefit claimants had not been advised sooner they could obtain money directly from banks.

The DUP's Gregory Campbell said it was important that the issue was resolved as soon as possible as many salaries were due to be paid before the end of the week.

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