Page last updated at 17:09 GMT, Monday, 7 January 2013

Ad Hoc Committee on welfare reform

Sinn Fein's Caitriona Ruane raised "serious concerns" about the Department of Social Development's (DSD) equality impact assessments (EQIA) regarding the Welfare Reform Bill, on 7 January 2013.

The Ad Hoc Committee on welfare reform was beginning the consideration of its 14 evidence sessions and the response from the DSD.

Ms Ruane said four of the nine equality categories had not been assessed.

Peter Weir of the DUP said he thought the DSD had covered the matter of EQIA "pretty well" in its response.

The SDLP's Colum Eastwood said the department's treatment of EQIAs "wasn't sufficient".

Committee chairman Trevor Lunn of Alliance expressed concern that: "We don't appear to have a meeting of minds here".

The committee went on to discuss the level of assembly approval required for the regulations following the bill and whether this should be "affirmative" or "confirmative".

Affirmative approval would be required before the regulations were adopted, whilst confirmative approval could follow the adoption of the regulations.

The question was put to the vote and Sinn Fein proposed that the regulations should require affirmative approval.

Mr Weir put an amendment that affirmative approval should only be required "when there is policy change".

Votes on the amendment and the main motion were tied.

Mr Lunn said all the committee could do was reflect on the disagreement in its report.

The committee also discussed sanctions, universal credit, childcare, and a benefits cap.

Ad Hoc Committee membership


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