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Council candidate urges fight back against welfare reform which has created a 'divisive' and 'toxic environment' in Derry
30 Apr 2019
A candidate in the upcoming council elections has warned of the damage caused by welfare reform and said that Derry could go off a cliff edge next year unless "radical action" is taken.
People Before Profit Foyleside candidate Shaun Harkin said: "The big parties have allowed poverty and division to fester. It's urgent we begin to challenge this.
"The DUP, Sinn Fein and Alliance brought in welfare reforms that have thrown thousands of people into poverty - and we are only at the tip of the iceberg in terms of their implementation. Next year we will go off a cliff unless radical action is taken on Universal Credit, PIP, the two-child limit and the Bedroom Tax.
"Derry wages are stagnant - many people haven't had a raise in years yet local rates went up, energy prices went up and the cost of living keeps going up. Many are struggling to make ends meet. All the big parties have been complicit in allowing the running down of the health service, our schools and the Housing Executive. Instead of mobilising and making a fuss - they've overseen and justified cuts.
"Many despair at the situation we face. It's a toxic environment allowing the politics of division to fester. The big parties responsible for bringing in welfare reforms and cuts are happy to fuel polarisation and division to maximise their support. This will only generate more hopelessness especially for young people."
He added: "The Council elections are an opportunity to break the political stalemate. People Before Profit want to bring communities together to oppose welfare reforms, to save our schools, to end the attacks on our health service and transform funding for mental health resources. A majority from all communities already oppose austerity and want to see more equality for women and the LGBT+ community. Concern for environmental pollution knows no borders.
"People Before Profit representatives on the Council will work to challenge poverty instead of implementing it - and we'll work to challenge division rather than fueling it by building people power movements that bring communities together. We'll use our seats to encourage grassroots campaigns that empower communities and get things done.
"We encourage people in The Moor, Foyleside, Ballyarnett and the Waterside to give our candidates their number one vote."
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