Welfare reform mitigations: next steps
Law Centre (NI) has published a briefing outlining its recommendations on effective implementation of welfare reform mitigations in Northern Ireland:
Significant work has taken place over recent years to secure mitigations for Northern Ireland to alleviate some of the difficulties with welfare reform. The Fresh Start Agreement allocates £585 million for mitigating welfare reform and tax credits. This is very welcome.
The Welfare Reform Mitigations Working Group Report (the “Evason report”) proposes mitigations that will make a significant difference to the lives of those in receipt of social security benefits in Northern Ireland. Specifically, the proposed mitigations will act as a buffer against some of the harsher effects of welfare reform.
The Assembly's Social Development Committee has now started to scrutinise the implementation of mitigations.
The Law Centre's paper set out a number of recommendations for the Committee to consider: some are targeted specifically at the operation of the migration measures whereas others relate more broadly to the implementation of welfare reform in Northern Ireland.
Given that the proposed mitigation measures come in £80 million under budget, we have also suggested additional areas of spend that the Committee may wish to consider which could further soften the impact of changes to the social security system.