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When everyone has a home

028 9024 5640: Housing & Debt Helpline for Northern Ireland

The impact of benefits reform on social housing in Northern Ireland

It seems that not a day goes by without the media being dominated by stories about welfare reform and the impact that it is having on people; especially in Great Britain where Universal Credit is being gradually introduced.

As a forerunner to future changes to welfare benefits in Northern Ireland, a number of reforms to Housing Benefit (HB) have already been implemented over the last number of years.

A study was recently carried out looking at the impact of these Housing Benefit reforms on the social rented sector in Northern Ireland. The research was commissioned by the Northern Ireland Housing Executive and the Department for Social Development.

Aims of the research

The aims of the research were to:

  • Examine the effects of welfare reforms on social tenants; and
  • Assess the likely consequences for existing housing policies, the operation of the housing market and the housing management practices of social landlords.

Report conclusions

Some of the conclusions reached by the study include:

  • Under-occupation will affect the HB received by about 46% of working age social rented tenants. By comparison, under-occupation rules will negatively impact on approximately 20% of working age English and Scottish housing association tenants.
  • The majority of working age claimants are under-occupying; 40% were under-occupying by one room and a further 18% by more than one room.
  • Under-occupation is more significant in the South and West areas.
  • There are no grounds to suggest that the new under-occupation rules in HB would impact in a significantly differential way by religion, gender or disability.

The full report can be found on the NIHE website.


Tagged In

Social Tenancies, Welfare Reform

This article was written on 3 October 2013. It should not be relied on as a statement of the current law or policy position. For help with housing issues please contact our helpline on 028 9024 5640 or use our online chat service at www.housingadviceNI.org.