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Copeland lambasts Sinn Fein and DUP for wasting time on churlish Assembly debate

Ulster Unionist Social Development Spokesperson Michael Copeland has accused Sinn Fein and DUP of engaging in a phoney war on welfare reform after they both brought competing non-binding proposals for debate to the Assembly.


The East Belfast MLA said; 

“Today's debate on welfare reform was a total waste of time. Private Members’ Motions, as they are known, cannot compel any Minister to adopt a specific policy and as in today’s case they are often abused by Party’s to simply score political points off one another.     

“While Sinn Fein and the DUP were grandstanding and engaging in their amateurish attempts of debate - the reality was that Northern Ireland only edged closer to having the block grant cut by £87m this year. These penalties are avoidable if Nelson McCausland could just build up the confidence to bring the Bill forward to the next legislative stage. 

“The Minister first brought the Welfare Reform Bill to the floor of the Assembly 23 months ago. Since then it has disappeared into the bowels of inter DUP-Sinn Fein wrangling in closed off meetings.

“By engaging in pathetic futile stunts like this in the Assembly Chamber, both Parties are showing utter contempt for the people of Northern Ireland. 

“The longer the DUP and SF continue to put their own political interests ahead of the people of Northern Ireland, the more people the Executive is going to continue to let down. Our rates of child poverty would shame any civilised Government, we continue to trap tens of thousands of people in welfare dependency and now we face the double insult of having our public funds cut by £87m this year as a result of this political failure.”

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