Speaking ahead of tomorrow night’s meeting of Belfast City Council which will debate her motion to fund the Belfast Citywide Tribunal service, PBP’s Cllr Fiona Ferguson has criticised the Minister for Communities for failing to provide the necessary core funding for the service, which is under threat as a result of long term underfunding.
”It beggars belief that People Before Profit are having to bring an emergency motion to Belfast CIty Council yet again because one of the most important services in our city is under threat.
”Staff in the Belfast Citywide Tribunal have represented an incredible amount of people facing stressful PIP appeals, winning communities the welfare they are entitled to, and providing vital welfare advice.
”Yet this service and its staff, despite increasing workloads, face precarity year on year due to underfunding. The Department for Communities has utterly failed them and the many people who rely on the service in North Belfast and across the city.
”The Department and Council met with those running the service this week but once again, their haphazard approach has fallen short as long term funding has not been offered and the short term offer won’t cover the service for a year.
”It truly is salt in the wound, that those who voted for Welfare Reform will not properly fund the support that people need as a result of this desperate system.
”I will bring this issue to the heart of Council, as we have done repeatedly, to put it up to the big parties: fund this service in the absence of support from the Minister for Communities or see jobs lost and thousands of people unsupported. It really is that simple.”