The genesis of it came, as you rightly said, during that period, and it was brought forward by a direct rule Minister in 2006. So, it is perhaps a case of shutting the stable door after the horse has bolted for the Ulster Unionists.
Turning to one other point that Mr Allen raised, which is the Capita PIP assessments, the Department has worked closely with Capita to ensure that there are sufficient disability assessors in place. On the other aspects of this, it is also important that, when people are assessed, it is done in a timely, proper manner. That is something that the Department will want to take forward.
In conclusion, these measures are unique to Northern Ireland and demonstrate the determination of the Executive to protect the most vulnerable in our society. That puts us in a different position from the rest of the United Kingdom. There will be further measures to mitigate welfare reform; those are being prepared and will be presented to the Executive in the autumn.
I thank Members for their interest in the regulations, even when they have opposed them. I hope that they will support them to enable mitigation payments to be made to those affected by the introduction of the personal independence payment, including those in receipt of carer’s allowance and disability premiums. I commend the motion to the Assembly.
The Assembly divided:
Mr Agnew, Ms Archibald, Mr Bell, Mr Boylan, Ms Boyle, Ms P Bradley, Ms S Bradley, Mr K Buchanan, Mr T Buchanan, Mrs Bunting, Mrs Cameron, Mr Clarke, Ms Dillon, Mr Douglas, Mr Dunne, Mr Easton, Mr Eastwood, Ms Fearon, Mr Frew, Mr Girvan, Mrs Hale, Mr Hamilton, Mr Hazzard, Mr Irwin, Mr Kearney, Mrs Little Pengelly, Ms Lockhart, Mr Logan, Mr Lynch, Mr Lyons, Mr McAleer, Mr F McCann, Ms J McCann, Mr McCartney, Mr McCausland, Mr McElduff, Mr McGrath, Miss McIlveen, Mr McMullan, Mr Maskey, Mr Middleton, Mr Milne, Lord Morrow, Mr Murphy, Mr Ó Muilleoir, Mr O’Dowd, Mrs O’Neill, Mr Robinson, Mr Ross, Ms Seeley, Mr Sheehan, Mr Stalford, Mr Storey, Mr Weir
Tellers for the Ayes: Mr F McCann, Mr Robinson
Mr Aiken, Mr Allen, Mr Allister, Mrs Barton, Mr Beggs, Mr Butler, Mr Chambers, Mrs Dobson, Mr Kennedy, Mr Nesbitt, Ms Palmer, Mr Smith, Mr Swann
Tellers for the Noes: Mr Aiken, Mr Allen
Question accordingly agreed to.
That the draft Welfare Supplementary Payment (Loss of Disability Living Allowance) Regulations (Northern Ireland) 2016 be approved.
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