Ulster Unionist Social Development Spokesperson Roy Beggs MLA has accused Sinn Fein of duplicity after the Party withdrew its support for welfare reform.
The East Antrim MLA said; “The decision of Sinn Fein to block this legislation is an example of two-faced hypocrisy. Not content with already taking £100m out to date and a further £114m next year from key public services, the Party has now threatened the political institutions in a supposed challenge against future spending reductions. That argument is flawed however as a failure to implement reform will lead to escalating fines, that in turn will only lead to further austerity. Their position is absurd.
“Sinn Fein not only signed up to the Stormont House Agreement, but in fact were vocal proponents of it. Only at the weekend Micky Brady proclaimed that the Party had won the fight against austerity and that they had ‘delivered’. Similarly Martin McGuinness said that welfare package agreed at Stormont House ‘protected’ the vulnerable and ‘eliminated the Tory cuts’. Martin McGuinness has since been overruled by his Leinster House masters.
“Northern Ireland had a chance to get ahead of the crippling fines, but Sinn Fein squandered it. Instead the Party appears content to only dream of a welfare system which we simply cannot afford, whilst at the same time expect public services to bear the brunt of fines. They either need to recognise the reality of the situation or admit that they do not have the political or financial capacity to govern.”