West Tyrone Sinn Féin -- Building an Ireland of Equals

Welfare cuts agenda will hit sickness and disability claimants the hardest- Michaela Boyle

Published: 10 June, 2014

Sinn Féin MLA and spokesperson on disability Michaela Boyle has said it is a necessity for budgeting to change to ensure those with a disability are prioritised within local spend.

Speaking in the assembly this week on the Main estimates, budget and final spending plan for 2014-2015 Michaela Boyle said,

"The welfare cuts agenda will hit sickness and disability claimants the hardest. Indeed, the 66,000 individuals adversely affected by the incapacity benefit reforms can expect to lose an average of almost £3,500 a year. The 67,000 people losing out as a result of the changeover from disability living allowance to personal independence payments by an average of more than £2,100 will have a devastating impact on the most vulnerable in our society.

I believe we need an independent assessment of the impact of the proposed cuts to welfare reform on sick and disabled people and their carer's and families. We also need to ensure that the proposed budget reductions being brought forward by the British Government do not negatively impact on services to disabled children here in the north. As poverty is one of the key indicators in preventing children with disabilities from leading an improved lifestyle, some of the proposed cuts in budgets will only add to the number of children who fall under the child poverty level.

It is vital that children with disabilities are given the best opportunity to reach their full potential and are fully integrated into society. There must be no barriers to participation for disabled children."