Ulster Unionist MLA Michael Copeland has said he hopes the appointment of a new Social Development Minister will present a fresh opportunity to resolve the crisis over Welfare Reform which his immediate predecessor had precipitated.
Michael Copeland said;
“Nelson McCauland’s time at the helm of Social Development can be characterised as one disaster after the other. The failure to bring forward a Welfare Reform Bill which was mindful of Northern Ireland’s specific circumstances could now could cost the public £87m and even more next year. The numbers on the common waiting list have spiralled out of control and now every quarter represents a new all-time peak. He was found guilty in deliberately misleading an Assembly Committee and his disgraceful actions on double glazing cost people their jobs and put entire companies on the brink of collapse. His actions lowered the public standing of the Assembly and he had long lost the confidence of it.
“I can think of few positive things, if any, that Nelson McCausland ever achieved during his three years in office. I wonder now will he be accompanied in leaving his office by his controversial former Special Advisor, Stephen Brimstone?
“I welcome the appointment of Meryvn Storey and I hope he will be a more cooperative and sensible Social Development Minister than his predecessor. His first and most immediate priority must be to seek cross party consensus on the way forward on welfare reform.”