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When everyone has a home

028 9024 5640: Housing & Debt Helpline for Northern Ireland

Time is running out for welfare reform mitigations

Housing Rights is one of over 60 organisations in Northern Ireland which have joined together to express concern about the planned end in March 2020 of important mitigations which protect people from some of the harshest impacts of welfare reform.

Cliff Edge NI Coalition launched

The Cliff Edge NI Coalition which has officially launched on Twitter today is a broad coalition of organisations from across different sectors including advice, housing, mental health and trade unions. 

Concerned about the impact on vulnerable groups of the current welfare mitigations coming to an end and increasingly worried about the impact of new challenges, the coalition is calling for a renewed commitment from our government to protect people against the harshest elements of welfare reform.

The Cliff Edge NI Coalition has two key campaign messages:

  1. The protection in place to support people impacted by welfare reform through mitigations is due to end in March 2020.
  2. It is important that people impacted by welfare reform in NI continue to be able to access support beyond March 2020. This support should take account of the new challenges people are facing, particularly Universal Credit.

The Cliff Edge NI Coalition first came together in February 2019 following the publication in November 2018 of a joint report by Housing Rights, Law Centre NI and Advice NI ‘Welfare Reform: Mitigations on a Cliff Edge’. The joint report identified the impact if protections agreed under the Fresh Start Agreement and due to expire in March 2020 were to cease and highlights further areas where protections are required.

Priority areas for refreshed package of mitigations

The joint report proposes that a refreshed mitigation package should take account of three priority areas and makes recommendations to this effect.

The priority areas are:

  1. mitigating against hardships arising from procedural difficulties with Universal Credit
  2. identifying and understanding the specific needs of low-income private and social tenants with a view to providing a funded service to provide practical assistance to alleviate financial pressures on this group
  3. providing assistance to children and families who have been heavily impacted by welfare reform, through measures like the 2-child limit, the loss of disability premiums and more intensive job seeking conditionality requirements for lone parents. 

To join the Cliff Edge Coalition NI, please email Kerry.

Tagged In

Benefits, Money Matters, Welfare Reform

This article was written on 1 May 2019. 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.