Northern Ireland news

Sinn Féin says Universal Credit cakes are 'offensive'

A Universal Credit cake for Hove in south east England. Similar cakes were bought for civil servants in the north

SINN Féin has hit out at an "offensive" decision to spend £1,000 on 40 cakes for civil servants to celebrate the roll-out of the Universal Credit benefits system.

The cakes, each branded with the Universal Credit logo, were given to staff in 40 locations to mark the end of the new system's introduction in Northern Ireland.

There have been calls for the suspension of Universal Credit amid concerns that delays in people receiving their first payment are pushing some claimants into rent arrears and homelessness.

Sinn Féin MLA Alex Maskey has complained to the Department for Communities about the cakes.

"I consider this action as evidence the department has little understanding how offensive this 'celebration' will be to those who have suffered hardship with the introduction of Universal Credit," he said.

SDLP deputy leader Nichola Mallon previously described the move as "tasteless and insensitive".

Sinn Féin's Alex Maskey has criticised the purchase of cakes for civil servants to celebrate the roll-out of Universal Credit. Picture by Niall Carson

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