Welfare Reform Report a Positive step for Human Rights Protection
The Human Rights Commission has welcomed the Ad Hoc Committee on Human Rights and Equality report on the implications of the Welfare Reform Bill’ which was presented to the Assembly today.
NIHRC Chief Commissioner’ Professor Michael O’Flaherty’ stated:
‘The Commission commends the Committee for their detailed analysis of the human rights implications of the Welfare Reform Bill. This work has served to focus minds on the impact the Bill will have on the most vulnerable and disadvantaged. The report recommends a number of measures to prevent anyone from finding themselves in severe hardship as a result of the reform.
The Commission is pleased that the Committee has taken on board a number of its own recommendations. For instance the Committee is calling for the Minister to ensure that lone parents will not be penalised for failing to take up work due to a lack of affordable childcare.’
Professor Michael O’Flaherty added:
‘We also welcome the recommendation that changes to housing benefit entitlement will provide for disabled persons who may require an additional room to accommodate an overnight carer. This also follows the Commissions advice.
In light of the role envisaged for private contractors in assessing eligibility for benefit payments’ the Commission recommended that such contractors be bound by the human rights act. We are delighted that this recommendation has also been taken on board. We now urge the Social Development Committee and the Minister to ensure that these recommendations are taken forward.’
For further information please contact Claire Martin’ Communications Worker: (028) 9024 3987 (office).
Notes to editors
1. The Northern Ireland Human Rights Commission is an independent statutory body first proposed in the Belfast (Good Friday) Agreement (1998) and established in 1999 by the Northern Ireland Act (1998). It is answerable to Parliament at Westminster.
2. View the Ad Hoc Committee on Conformity with Equality Requirements Report on whether the Provisions of the Welfare Reform Bill are in Conformity with the Requirements for Equality and Observance of Human Rights here
3. View the Northern Ireland Human Rights Commission’s advice to the Committee here.
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