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028 9024 5640: Housing & Debt Helpline for Northern Ireland

Bedroom tax mitigations to be extended beyond March 2020 Cliff Edge

Leading housing advice charity, Housing Rights, has today (Monday 3rd February) welcomed an announcement by the Communities Minister Deirdre Hargey MLA, that legislation will be introduced to extend the bedroom tax mitigation beyond March 2020, when this vital protection was otherwise due to end.

Speaking about the announcement, Housing Rights Policy & Practice Manager Kate McCauley said:

“Today’s announcement by Minister Hargey is very welcome. It will be reassuring to the 38,000 tenants impacted by the bedroom tax in Northern Ireland who were set to lose an average of £50 a month come March 2020.  Recent research has shown that, for tenants who have lost their bedroom tax mitigation payments, average arrears per household almost quadrupled in the five months that followed.[1] It is therefore our hope that today’s announcement will remove the risk of arrears and housing stress faced by households as a result of bedroom tax.”

Housing Rights also welcomed Minister Hargey’s commitment to working with stakeholders to review the mitigation measures. As co-conveners of the Cliff Edge Coalition Housing Rights, along with over 100 other member organisations, has been calling for the mitigation package to be extended and strengthened to take account of new and growing challenges faced as a result of Welfare Reform.

Ms McCauley further noted,

“We also welcome Minister Hargey’s commitment to reviewing the mitigation measures. We look forward to working with her to ensure these vital protections are strengthened to take account of new and growing challenges which have compounded the issues faced by our clients in meeting their housing costs, such as social security changes in the Private Rented Sector and the introduction of Universal Credit.”

[1] Northern Ireland Housing Executive, ‘Welfare Reform in Northern Ireland: A Scoping Report’ (November 2018), p 43 

Notes to editors:

Housing Rights is the leading specialist provider of independent housing advice in Northern Ireland.  Established in 1964 the charity works to improve lives by tackling homelessness and housing problems.  Last year the organisation provided advice and assistance on nearly 47,000 housing issues.

For further information contact Claire Moss at Housing Rights  on 90 267925

Spokespersons will be available for comment.