The Social Development minister told MLAs the failure to progress welfare reform put at risk the delivery of benefits to over 400,000 people. The Minister said he had been trying since the beginning of 2014 to get the Executive to come to an agreement on when the Welfare Reform Bill would return to the Assembly, "and to consider the package of measures which I have developed to help shape how welfare reform is implemented".
Replying to a question from Robin Newton, The Minister said the application of financial penalties from Westminster "will have a negative impact on spending on other public services such as health and education".
He said the total number of Northern Ireland staff providing benefits services to areas of Great Britain was over 1,400.
"Breaking parity and therefore not operating the same processes and systems makes those services uncompetitive and more expensive, and our job in this house is surely to protect jobs,".
Mr McCausland also answered questions on the Housing Executive's window replacement scheme for East Antrim, social housing in Glengormley, for an update on the upgrading of single-walled dwellings to improve their energy efficiency and the Housing Equality Scheme. During topical questions the Minister also discussed Social and Affordable Housing, Racial Intimidation and the number of people in Great Britian that are claiming universal credit.