The proposed welfare reforms have been widely described as the most radical shake up of the social security system in over 40 years. The aim of the reforms and subsequent Bill is to simplify the benefits system, improve work incentives to encourage claimants to move from benefits to work and reduce administration costs. However, the implementation of the changes will impact upon a significant percentage of the working age population in Northern Ireland.
Following a meeting with DSD Minister Nelson McCausland to discuss the recent report which showed that Northern Ireland is set to be hit harder by welfare reform than any other part of the UK, NICVA has written to OFMdFM to request an update.
As part of the welfare reform agenda changes will be made to the Rates Rebate Scheme in Northern Ireland. This will become an important issue for the voluntary and community sector as the reality of the welfare reform changes becomes clear.
Lord Freud, the Under Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, and the Minister in charge of overseeing welfare reform, met with representatives of the voluntary and community sector at NICVA yesterday [Wednesday, 28 November 2012].
Minister for Social Development, Nelson McCausland, has welcomed a move by the Northern Ireland Executive to begin the discussion on welfare reform, and NICVA proposes that the Assembly takes this opportunity for full scrutiny of the Bill.