“Unionist leaders and their pro-austerity allies in the Alliance party have been queuing up to tell us that Tory welfare cuts are unavoidable.
“But they have not explained to their voters and everyone else the effect that these devastating cuts would have on the most vulnerable in our society.
“Instead they have simply swallowed the justification given to them by the Tory government and they parrot the lines of millionaire cabinet ministers.
“The reality is that these cuts, if implemented, will have a crippling effect on individuals, on people in low-income jobs, on the disabled and on entire communities living in areas of high unemployment.
“They would punish the poor and the vulnerable and will drive those who are already struggling on low incomes further into poverty. No one in the North, unionist or nationalist, voted for that. Welfare cuts are not part of our Programme for Government.
“I challenge unionists and those who support the Tory cuts agenda to go into their communities and attempt to explain why they are so committed to drastically lowering people’s standards of living.
“They need to explain to people struggling to get by in Derry and elsewhere the real impact of supporting a remote, unelected government of elites in London.
“Growing numbers of people are starting to realise the true consequences welfare cuts will have and are looking for an alternative.
“Unionist leaders would be serving their electorate far better by uniting with those of us who are standing up for all communities, regardless of their political outlook, in resisting these savage cuts