Page last updated at 16:45 GMT, Wednesday, 21 November 2012

OFMDFM Committee

A disabilities campaigner predicted that the introduction of welfare reforms would be "excruciating" for disabled people, on 21 November 2012.

Monica Wilson of Disability Action told the OFMDFM committee that changes to disability benefits would result in "a disaster by next year".

She was giving evidence to the committee on the draft disability strategy consultation.

Ms Wilson said that at a recent meeting on welfare changes she had met a man who had not slept for two nights because he was worried that he was going to lose his benefits.

She criticised the strategy for its lack of an action plan.

"The massively important thing is that there is no action plan. So if there is no action plan there is no action," Ms Wilson commented.

Committee chairman Mike Nesbitt of the UUP noted that the Executive had taken 10 years to draw up a two-year strategy.

He asked Ms Wilson how long it would take her to write an action plan.

"It would take two months hard work," she replied.

Officials from the Equality Commission also gave evidence on the draft disability strategy.

Chief commissioner Michael Wardlow said he had spoken to a number of friends who lived with a disability and they had all said "there is one priority and it is the word inclusion".

The Equality Commission representatives also commented on regulations to introduce gender neutral insurance premiums.

The committee also heard briefings from the Community Relations Council and Belfast City Council.

OFMDFM committee membership


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