Budget concerns for SVP

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Ballymena man Aidan Crawford, Northern regional president of SVP, has spoken of the Society’s concern over the impact of new budget measures.

Mr Crawford explained: “We in the SVP deal on an ongoing basis with people on benefits who are already finding difficulty in making ends meet either because of the inadequacy of the support provided or because the benefits have been stopped or suspended while cases are reviewed.

“We are aware, too, of an already high level of uncertainty and anxiety among these people about the future as a result of the Assembly’s continued indecision on implementing earlier Westminster reforms that are expected to have an impact on the worse off in our society.

“The anticipated impact of the Government’s latest £12billion further cuts over the next five

years can only add further to this anxiety.”

Mr Crawford also expressed disappointment that the measures are expected to have an adverse impact on those in work.

“We have, over recent years, been finding ourselves helping people who are in work but experiencing financial hardship either as a legacy of the property crash or because wages and working conditions are insufficient to provide a living wage.”

It was pointed out that the Society’s concern is reinforced by the assessment of the Institute of Fiscal Studies thinktank which concluded that the poorest will be hardest hit by the last week’s Budget measures.

“Analysts at IFS have calculated that, regrettably, low-paid workers will actually be worse off as a result of the changes announced by the Chancellor,” he said.