We must do all we can to help those relying on system, says Armstrong

COVID-19 Communities Kellie Armstrong

Alliance Communities spokesperson Kellie Armstrong MLA has said she is glad to see her party colleague Stephen Farry MP fight for the retention of the £20 per week COVID uplift to universal credit.

Ms Armstrong was speaking after Westminster backed calls for the Government to scrap the plans, adding it would have a serious impact for families in Northern Ireland.

She said: “We are now weeks away for the October 6 deadline the Government has set for the removal of this much needed payment. We need a clear pathway forward for what its future will be.

“Alliance has consistently opposed the cut of the COVID uplift. I have repeatedly asked the Communities Minister to put a plan in place to militate against this here, enquiring as to what measures she is putting in place to stop people from sliding into further financial stress and poverty. It is vital existing measures such as discretionary support grants are made available to help people cope with such a significant loss of support.

“At a time when energy prices are increasing, national insurance is increasing and with the end of furlough approaching, it is of no surprise more people have applied for universal credit. It is worth noting a third of universal credit claimants are in work, a third are economically inactive due to sickness, disability or terminal illness and a third are looking for work.

“We must do all we can to help and support those relying on the system and I’m glad to see my party colleague Stephen Farry MP was able to back proposals to reverse this callous decision.”