Northern Ireland

SDLP delegation to meet minister over benefits reform

Commons chamber and Lords chamber
The welfare bill has been in the Commons and the Lords

An SDLP delegation is to meet the minister for welfare reform later to discuss changes to the benefits system.

The party's three MPs and Stormont Minister Alex Attwood will meet Lord Freud and Secretary of State Owen Paterson in London.

It comes after the House of Commons controversially supported changes to the welfare system.

These included the introduction of a benefits cap of £26,000 per year.

Foyle MP Mark Durkan said the changes would prove very difficult in Northern Ireland.

"There are some administrative differences in Northern Ireland that give us some room for discretion," he said.

"There are also legal obligations on equality that the Assembly and the Executive have to take into account and clearly have not been factored into the measures that the government have come up with so far.

"Not least in relation to housing benefit."

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