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.
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 Minister for Welfare Reform, was in NICVA on 18 May to meet with a range of voluntary and community organisations.