Cameron’s plan paving way for erosion of social security benefits

3 10 2013


Ballycastle SDLP Councillor Dónal Cunningham has responded to the British Government’s ‘work for benefits’ plan which David Cameron referred to in his speech at the Conservative Conference yesterday.

He said:

“The plans announced by the Prime Minister David Cameron regarding new conditions for the long-term jobless have worrying implications for people living in Northern Ireland

“The conditions being proposed include community work placements, daily visits to a job centre or taking part in compulsory training. Such proposals are overly onerous and are the latest in a long list of changes which the coalition hopes to roll out in the Welfare Reform Act.

“This latest step by the Conservatives is an attempt to penalise the unemployed rather than acknowledge the failings of the Government’s economic policies. This attitude towards those who have lost their job, young graduates and others who can’t secure work is disgraceful. The lack of empathy displayed by the Tories is quite breath-taking.

“The Welfare Reform Act and its provisions seem more and more to pave the way for the erosion of social security benefits which we in the SDLP have been warning about in the Assembly and at Westminster.”


Scrap the Bedroom Tax

5 04 2013

Ballycastle SDLP Councillor Dónal Cunningham has called for the all parties to bin the “Bedroom Tax” when the Welfare Reform Bill returns to the Assembly on 16th April.
Speaking following figures published by the Northern Ireland Federation of Housing Associations and the Chartered Institute of Housing which show that the ‘Bedroom Tax’ will cost more to implement than it will save in housing benefit, Councillor Cunningham said.
“The bedroom tax will affect 32,000 households in the North, but the figures reveal that the direct cost of implementing the bedroom tax would be at least £21m across the housing associations and Housing Executive all of this to cut the benefits bill by £17m. The numbers don’t add up on Bedroom Tax and we can’t afford the human or economic damage this policy would inflict.
“Hopefully other political parties will take heed of this research and join with the SDLP to block the implementation of this invidious tax.”

Maginness urges U-turn on ‘bedroom tax’

28 02 2013

Bedroom Tax


SDLP North Belfast MLA Alban Maginness has warned Minister Nelson McCausland of the potentially devastating impacts of the so-called “bedroom tax,” and has urged him to reverse his decision.

 Mr Maginness said;

 “In a recent question to the Minister of Social Development, he revealed that almost 4,200 people in the North Belfast area alone would be at risk of financial penalty with the introduction of a “bedroom tax.”

 “This could be potentially devastating for many families who are already struggling as a result of the economic downturn, and will undoubtedly push many into financial hardship, or force them from their homes. The flawed policy takes no account of individual circumstances, such as single parent families who may not have their children living with them on a permanent basis.

 “It also fails to consider ill or disabled people, many of whom rely on overnight carers or the need for extra bedrooms by foster parents who provide a much needed home for vulnerable young people.

 “I have no confidence in the “discretionary payments” that the Minister is promising, and this is a completely unacceptable attempt to plug the hole in this flawed policy. Further to this, the fact that the Minister saw fit to return £15 million to the Finance Minister in the past two months demonstrates a failure on his part to adequately allocate his budget. It is a slap in the face to those who he is taking more money from, and shows his complete incompetence and strategic oversight in relation to financial management.

 “The figures released by the Minister suggest that there will be tens of thousands of people penalised by the introduction of the “bedroom tax” across the North. The SDLP will do everything we can to prevent implementation of this unfair and illogical tax on the vulnerable.”

“Your future is my future – a European Youth Guarantee now!”

16 01 2013

Youth Guarantee

5.5 million young people are currently unemployed in Europe and an additional 1.5 million are forced into precarious jobs. In some countries as many as one young person out of two cannot find a job.

The campaign “Your future is my future – a European Youth Guarantee now” is calling for a European Youth Guarantee as a way to tackle youth unemployment.

 What is the European Youth Guarantee?

The European Youth Guarantee is a guarantee that ensures that every young person in Europe is offered a job, further education or work-focused training at the latest four months after leaving education or after becoming unemployed.

It can be implemented at European or at national level. 

 Join the campaign!

Together we can bring 2 million young people out of unemployment by 2014, by making a European Youth Guarantee a reality.

Action required over “Youth Unemployment”

13 10 2011

Speaking after attending an event with members of the “Ballycastle Youth Council” as part of local democracy week SDLP Councillor Dónal Cunningham highlighted the plight of youth unemployment. Youth unemployment was raised by the young people as a major problem and our talented and educated young people are destined to either have to travel out of the area for employment or worse still to emigrate due to lack of opportunity.

 The Assembly’s response to the Tory-led Government’s series of cuts has not been good enough. “What we need now is a decent plan for growth and jobs.”

 “Unemployment is soaring, and more young people are out of work than ever before.” “Getting people – and especially our young people – back to work has to be the priority for everyone and must form the central plank of the Assembly’s programme for Government”