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When everyone has a home

028 9024 5640: Housing & Debt Helpline for Northern Ireland

Policy

The Northern Ireland Affairs and Work and Pensions Committee have announced a joint inquiry into welfare policy in Northern Ireland. This inquiry will follow the passage of the NI Budget Act and the upcoming end of the welfare reform mitgation package in March 2020.

Focus of the enquiry

The inquiry will consider

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Welfare Reform, Policy

Subscribers to the Child Poverty Action Group's Poverty journal will have seen a summary of the recent joint report from Housing Rights, the Law Centre and Advice NI on welfare reform mitigations in Northern Ireland and the looming crisis when these mitigations end in March 2020. 

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Benefits, Welfare Reform, Policy

Housing Rights has responded to the Treasury’s Breathing Space Scheme policy proposals.

Housing Rights previously responded to a call for evidence in 2017. In October 2018, the Treasury published detailed policy proposals regarding the operation of a Breathing Space Scheme and associated Statutory Debt Repayment Plan (SDRP).

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Policy, Affordability

Housing Rights responds to Breathing Space consultation

In October 2018, the Treasury published detailed policy proposals regarding the operation of a Breathing Space Scheme and associated Statutory Debt Repayment Plan (SDRP). The Breathing Space Scheme is intended to give people in problem debt the right to legal protections from creditor action while they receive debt advice and enter into an appropriate debt solution. With regard to the housing-specific aspects of this consultation, the following measures are proposed:

  • Housing debts could be excludable under the SDRP, thereby enabling clients to repay these debts more quickly to avoid eviction; and
  • Where housing debts are included in any SDRP, these debts would be prioritised.

Housing Rights’ views on these proposals are outlined in this response. 

 

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Policy, Affordability

Housing Rights responds to Breathing Space consultation

In October 2018, the Treasury published detailed policy proposals regarding the operation of a Breathing Space Scheme and associated Statutory Debt Repayment Plan (SDRP). The Breathing Space Scheme is intended to give people in problem debt the right to legal protections from creditor action while they receive debt advice and enter into an appropriate debt solution. With regard to the housing-specific aspects of this consultation, the following measures are proposed:

  • Housing debts could be excludable under the SDRP, thereby enabling clients to repay these debts more quickly to avoid eviction; and
  • Where housing debts are included in any SDRP, these debts would be prioritised.

Housing Rights’ views on these proposals are outlined in this response. 

 

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Policy, Affordability

Our experience as a housing advice organisation is increasingly evidencing the devastating housing impact of welfare reform. We therefore welcome the finding by the NIAO  in its Welfare Reform Report 2019 that welfare reforms in Northern Ireland are ‘likely to have a major impact on housing’.

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Benefits, Welfare Reform, Policy

The government has launched a consultation on a breathing space scheme for people in problem debt. The proposed scheme is accompanied by an additional proposal to introduce an associated statutory debt repayment plan (SDRP). Both the breathing space scheme and SDRP are intended to supplement existing debt management solutions.

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Policy, Affordability

In a recent statement, Amber Rudd MP, who was appointed Secretary for Work & Pensions following Esther McVey MP’s resignation, has advised that she will listen to expert guidance with the aim of fixing Universal Credit.

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Benefits, Outside NI, Welfare Reform, Policy
Graphic from Karly Greene's presentation

Housing Rights held its annual conference on the private rented sector on 21 November. This year’s conference was sponsored by TDS NI and focused on changes, challenges and collaborations in the sector. The day was grouped into four themes:

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Benefits, Regulation, Research, Private Tenancies, Welfare Reform, Policy, Landlord

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