Bedroom tax fear over Stormont crisis

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Local advice charity, Housing Rights, has expressed concern that the potential dissolution of the Assembly could stop regulations mitigating the impact of the bedroom tax (Social Sector Size Criteria), from being passed. This could mean around 34,000 households in Northern Ireland are not protected when the policy comes into force next month.

The charity has called for urgent consideration of all available options to ensure local households are not negatively impacted.

Kate McCauley, Policy & Practice Manager with Housing Rights, said: “We are concerned that if the current political uncertainty continues it could have unintended consequences for people living in social housing who stand to be impacted by the bedroom tax. If the regulations to make arrangements for supplementary payments are not brought forward, an alternative solution must be found.”

A screening report published by the Department for Communities found that around 34,000 households could be affected by the policy, with average losses reaching up to £20.42 per week.

Ms McCauley added: “Housing Rights would encourage urgent consideration of all available options to safeguard tenants’ homes. This should involve stakeholders including those who represent tenants and landlords. Regardless of the mechanism used, it is vital that those affected have the intended financial protection.”

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