SDLP Assembly Member for East Derry John Dallat has claimed that low-income families with children in the borough have been left confused and angry not knowing how they can struggle to survive as the top-up to their wages from tax credits disappears.
Mr Dallat told The Coleraine Times: “The disappearance of tax credits from the finances of many families on low incomes from this week means the noose is tightening even more on those who are gasping to survive.
“Many families who are losing their tax credits have no idea how they are going to budget for the future because there is no additional assurances coming with the universal credit.
“Many of these families are now facing serious financial hardship because they cannot find the additional hours that are needed to continue qualifying for tax credits. Others who are doubling up as carers simply are not available to increase their hours from 16 to 24 even if the work was available.”
Mr Dallat went on: “The reality is that everyone is losing. The recipients who were supported by tax credit are losing and the economy is also losing out of very significant sums of money which will no longer be spent in our shops to buy goods and services.
“We really are seeing the dismantling of the welfare state in a manner which has neither rhyme or reason and is happening at a time when so many people are literally on their financial uppers.