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When everyone has a home

028 9024 5640: Housing & Debt Helpline for Northern Ireland

January 2019

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

The Department for Communities has published results of its survey of the attitudes of people who currently claim benefits towards welfare reform. This report establishes a baseline  for future research the Department will carry out into experiences and attitudes of welfare reform and are part of a wider ongoing evaluation of welfare reform, which is being carried out by the Department. 

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Benefits, Welfare Reform

Several new pieces of legislation have been laid before Parliament in order to give effect to changes to Universal Credit , which were announced by the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions. 

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Benefits, Welfare Reform

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
Picture of NIAO welfare reform report cover

The Northern Ireland Audit Office (NIAO) has today published a report documenting the ‘major’ impact welfare reform will have across Northern Ireland.

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Benefits, Research, Welfare Reform

The Department for Communities has issued guidance to both tenants and landlords following a court judgment last summer which ruled that two letting agents must repay certain tenancy fees charged to a tenant. 

Departmental guidance

The Department issued the following guidance to tenants:

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Private Tenancies

A report by the new Social Housing Commission calls for all political parties to see social housing as a key pillar of the national infrastructure in England and recommends a generational shift in housing policy, covering both social housing and the private rented sector.

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Research

In a speech in Kennington on Friday, Secretary of State for Work and Pensions Amber Rudd announced a raft of changes to Universal Credit. These changes are intended to ensure the benefit is delivered in a way that meets the needs of claimants.

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Benefits, Welfare Reform

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

Housing Rights had previously reported that a revised set of Universal Credit (Managed Migration) Regulations 2018 would make provision that claimants of legacy benefits with Severe Disability Premiums (SDP) would not be at risk of natural migration due to the introduction of a gateway condition preventing such claimants from naturally migrating to Universal Credit as a result of changes o

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Benefits, Welfare Reform

The High Court ruled today that the DWP's treatment of UC claimants who are paid twice in one assessment period is unlawful, with the judgment descriping DWP's approach as "odd in the extreme".

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Benefits, Welfare Reform, Case law, Legal

The Department for Work and Pensions has confirmed that the interest rate used to calculate interest due on loans for mortgage interest (LMI) has reduced from 1.7% to 1.5%. The interest rate used to calculate the amount of LMI paid to a claimant's lender remains unchanged at 2.61%. 

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Benefits, Repossession

In a letter to stakeholders, the Department for Communities has confirmed that the managed migration of legacy benefit claimants to Universal Credit will not now commence in July 2019. Instead, this phase of the Universal Credit programme will be deferred until 2020. The managed migration process is scheduled to complete by the end of 2023. 

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Benefits, Welfare Reform