Welfare Reform Bill update
Currently the Bill has completed only the first three stages of the process to date. Discussions are continuing amongst the political parties and Minister McCausland has stated that he will only move the Bill into the next stage when he believes there is sufficient consensus within the Assembly to do so. The delays mean that, according to the SSA, the Department for Social Development’s assumption of the bill becoming law this autumn is no longer achievable. A new timetable based on Bill moving to its next stage this Autumn have been provided by the SSA and are listed below:
- The introduction of Universal Credit: Summer 2014
- The introduction of a Benefit Cap: Spring 2014
- The introduction of Personal Independence Payment: Spring 2014
- Changes to housing benefit: Spring 2014
- The introduction of new fraud and error powers: Spring 2014
- Changes to Employment and Support Allowance: Spring 2014
- Reform of the Social Fund system: Spring 2014
- Introduction of changes to the Appeals process: Spring 2014
In the interim the Department is continuing to plan for the successful launch of the different reforms and is working with Northern Ireland Civil Service and Department for Work and Pensions colleagues to ensure all necessary infrastructure and information is available to enable go live when the legislation is passed.
More information on the Welfare Reform proposals is available at: www.nidirect.gov.uk/welfarereform
More information on the legislative process of the Welfare Reform Bill for Northern Ireland is available at: www.niassembly.gov.uk/Assembly-Business/Legislation/Primary-Legislation-Current-Bills/Welfare-Reform-Bill/.