Londonderry will be worst affected by welfare reforms

Welfare cuts to subtract �900 per person.
Welfare cuts to subtract �900 per person.

Londonderry will be hammered more severely than any other part of Northern Ireland once UK wide welfare changes take full effect, according to a new report by the Community Relations Council.

Londonderry will lose £900 per person. That compares to £650 across Northern Ireland as a whole.

Dr Paul Nolan, in the third Northern Ireland Peace Monitoring Report, published last week, cites a report on the potential impact of the Welfare Reform Act 2012, which was commissioned by the Northern Ireland Council for Voluntary Action and carried out by the Centre for Regional Economic and Social Research at Sheffield Hallam University.

He writes: “It found that when the changes come into full effect they will take £750 million a year out of the Northern Ireland economy – or £650 for every adult of working age.

“The impact will be greater than in any other UK region, mainly due to the high dependence on incapacity benefits and Disability Living Allowance, two of the main targets.

“The effects of the changes are geographically uneven, with three local-government districts hit hardest: Derry, Strabane and Belfast.

“In these three areas the loss averaged across the working-age population is over £800 a year, with Derry reaching the £900 mark.”

In the same chapter on ‘Equality’ Dr Nolan also points out how an analysis by researchers from Loughborough University, drawing on tax data and the most recent reports, found Londonderry suffered amongst the worst levels of child poverty across the UK.

“At local-authority level, Derry was ranked fourth (35 per cent), Belfast fifth (34 per cent) and Strabane 14th (32 per cent), giving Northern Ireland three entries in a dubious top 20,” he states.