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The Northern Ireland (Welfare Reform) Bill is a Government Bill, introduced by the Northern Ireland Office, which would bring about welfare reforms in Northern Ireland following the agreement made between the Northern Ireland Executive and the UK and Irish Governments on 17 November 2015.

Consisting of three clauses, the Bill has been described as:

[A] piece of enabling legislation to allow for the delivery of welfare reform in Northern Ireland. Welfare is a devolved matter for Northern Ireland. The Bill is intended to allow the delivery of the Government’s welfare reforms in Northern Ireland, including those made in the 2012 Welfare Reform Act and those proposed in the Welfare Reform and Work Bill 2015, as well as the welfare‐related flexibilities included in the Stormont House Agreement.

The Bill is intended to be fast-tracked through the UK Parliament, with all House Commons stages expected to take place on 23 November 2015 and all House of Lords stages expected to take place on 24 November 2015. A draft Order has also been published by the UK Government, to be laid following Parliament’s approval of the Bill. The UK Government states that:

This draft Order is largely similar to the Assembly Welfare Reform Bill that was proposed but not passed earlier this year. It includes steps to give effect to measures already being implemented in Great Britain in the Welfare Reform Act 2012, as well as Northern Ireland specific measures for sanctions and the ability to introduce additional payments (or ‘top-ups’).


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