Chartered Institute of Housing NI welcomes extension of bedroom tax mitigations
The announcement by communities minister Deirdre Hargey MLA for plans to extend the welfare mitigations to the bedroom tax beyond March 2020 will come as a welcome development to both tenants and social housing providers in Northern Ireland, according to CIH Northern Ireland policy manager Heather Wilson.
An estimated 38,000 households are currently in receipt of supplementary payments protecting them from the bedroom tax – a welfare deduction for households who are deemed to under-occupy their home.
Heather said: “In practice, the bedroom tax is incompatible with our context here in Northern Ireland, given the lack of appropriate housing stock and communal segregation.
“We are pleased that the minister has acted swiftly to calls from the sector to extend the welfare mitigations to protect households from the bedroom tax. This will help many people to keep their home. We look forward to future details on other vital mitigations such as the benefit cap; it is well evidenced that when household income is stretched for people in lower incomes, rent arrears become unavoidable.
“Additionally, we are mindful of those households who lost their supplementary payment when they voluntarily moved home, often for very good reasons. CIH will request assurances from the department that supplementary payments will continue for those households who find themselves in this situation.
“We look forward to working with the minister in the coming months to ensure the maximum mitigation package can be achieved to prevent this from happening, including in areas that make it harder for people to participate in the workforce.”