SDLP MLA Patsy McGlone has welcomed
news that the Social Security Offices in Cookstown will remain open to
deliver the work of introducing Universal Credit.
The Mid Ulster MLA said, "Staff have
been working under a cloud of threatened closure and this will be good news
for them. The introduction of Universal Credit will take some time – so this
decision will see the local facilities in Cookstown remaining open for the
next number of years.
"Universal Credit is a complicated and
unwelcome move and will cause many on benefits stress and inconvenience and
this is the exact time that people need their local facilities and regular,
friendly local staff to engage with.
"Local people were being threatened
with having to make long journeys to get help and assistance and those being
forced to travel long distances would often be those with little income or
worse still under Universal Credit no income at all for a period of time.
"The Tory Party, aided by DUP and Sinn
Fein have changed the landscape of benefits in Northern Ireland and whilst
there may be some mitigation it is not guaranteed going forward. The least
that could be done by the Department is this move to maintain local support
in Cookstown which isn’t just welcome – it is the right and proper thing to
do for local people."