16 Nov 2021

CIH welcomes decision to extend welfare mitigations

CIH welcomes the decision taken by the Northern Ireland Executive to continue to protect households from the harshest elements of welfare reform. The Executive has agreed to extend the current welfare mitigation package, and close loopholes that have to date plunged a number of welfare recipients further into poverty. 

Welfare mitigations were put in place by the NI Executive after the Welfare Reform Act became law in 2016, in a bid to protect some of the most vulnerable households in Northern Ireland. The most notable of these was the mitigation of the bedroom tax, which prevented a drop in the amount of help tenants receive to pay rent if they under-occupy their social home. Tenants would otherwise be charged for having more bedrooms than is deemed necessary, while a lack of smaller houses available means that many tenants are also unable to move home. The mitigations will also continue to help protect an upward of 1,800 families impacted by the benefit cap from losing on average £221 per month.

CIH Northern Ireland policy manager Heather Wilson commented:

“Alongside our Cliff Edge Coalition colleagues, we have been calling for the extension of the welfare mitigations for some time now. With the increasingly tough economic climate facing my individuals and families, today’s announcement will keep many low-income households from falling over a financial cliff edge. 

“It must be said that although this is a welcome development, it is regrettable that these mitigations have not been extended indefinitely. The limited lifespan of these vital protections will mean that once again the most vulnerable households will be brought toward another financial cliff edge in three years’ time. We would call on the Executive to work towards making these measures permanent in the next mandate.”

Note to Editors

For more information, please contact CIH communications manager, Karen Ireland at karen.ireland@cih.org