SDLP MLA Mark H Durkan has slammed the Department for Communities after a departmental official accused the SDLP of ‘scaremongering’ in relation to the new Universal Credit system being rolled out in parts of Belfast today.

Responding to comments made by the Departmental official this morning on Good Morning Ulster, the MLA for Foyle said: “It is beyond the remit of civil servants to accuse elected representatives, who are articulating the genuine concerns of their constituents, of ‘scaremongering’ and ‘worrying claimants unnecessarily.’

“Though the Department for Communities may ‘be pleased with how things are going’ and believe it is acceptable for people to go through a daunting process to be left waiting a minimum of five weeks for their first payment, with no help from the Department except an offer of further debt, the SDLP do not.

“The SDLP have consistently called out the failings of Welfare Reform on behalf of our constituents, and we will not be silenced by Civil Servants."

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