Page last updated at 16:03 GMT, Monday, 12 November 2012

Question Time: Social Development and Justice

Justice Minister David Ford told MLAs that "significant work" was being done to ensure the safety of prison officers, on 12 November 2012.

"There has been a significant review of security procedures for individual prison officers," Mr Ford said.

The minister's comments came in the light of the recent murder of Prison Officer David Black.

Paul Girvan of the DUP drew attention to the working conditions of staff at Maghaberry Prison.

He said that prison officers had to go outside the prison if they wanted hot food at meal times.

The minister said the matter was currently under examination

Earlier in Question Time, the Social Development Minister accused some members of the SDLP of being "still at the Neanderthal stage".

Nelson McCausland was replying to a question from the party's Karen McKevitt regarding a possible reduction in staff at the Social Security Agency.

He said SDLP objections to the introduction of Universal Credit were "an example of financial illiteracy".

The minister said there had been a possibility of losing 1600 jobs if the department had not proceeded with the introduction of Universal Credit.

"I believe we are getting it absolutely right as regards welfare reform," he commented.

Chris Lyttle of Alliance asked for an assessment of the home heating oil pay-as-you-go pilot scheme.

Mr McCausland said he was "very keen for the technology to be rolled out" and was disappointed that it had taken so long for this process to begin.


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