Page last updated at 11:10 GMT, Thursday, 22 November 2012

Social Development Committee

Conflicting information given to the Social Development Committee over whether it could continue to examine the Welfare Reform Bill now that an ad hoc committee had been established was deeply frustrating, its chairman said, on 22 November 2012.

Alex Maskey of Sinn Fein said the committee had received clear guidance that the its deliberation of the bill would be suspended once the ad hoc committee was created.

It was set up to examine the equality and human rights implications of the bill.

Mr Maskey said he had now been told the social development committee could continue to take advice and receive clarification on matters.

He added that people had been concerned about the delay to the bill if an ad hoc committee was established, however, he suggested they may have taken a different view in voting to support it if they knew the work of social development committee could continue.

If the Welfare Reform Bill passes successfully through the Assembly, the bill will bring changes introduced at Westminster that have marked the biggest overhaul of the benefits system since the 1940s, into effect in Northern Ireland.

One of the reforms is the introduction of the single, universal credit to replace six income-related, work-based benefits.

Social development committee membership


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