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Committee rejects flawed Housing Benefit plans

17 January, 2008


Sinn Féin Newry Armagh MLA Mickey Brady has said that the Social Development Committee has sent the new proposals for Housing Benefits back to Margaret Ritchie amid concerns that they would mean that vulnerable people would be forced to find even more money to meet the gap between what they are charged for rent and what the department will pay through the Housing Benefit system.

Mr Brady said:

"There are serious concerns that these flawed proposals would have hit the most vulnerable people in society hardest. The plans would have resulted in people being forced to find money from their own limited budget to fill the gap between what they are being charged and what the department will pay through the Housing Benefit system.

"This will have a particularly harsh effect in areas where there are both high levels of deprivation and high levels of housing demand and as a result high rents, especially within the private rented sector.

"People, particularly those on benefits, would be forced to make difficult choices between food, clothing, heating and finding the money plug the gap between what they get through the housing benefits systems and what they are forced to pay by greedy private landlords.

"It is impossible to understand how anyone who claims to care for the most vulnerable people in our society could have even contemplated bringing such proposals forward in the first place.

"The committee has now asked the Minister to come back with a clearer picture of how these flawed plans will impact because as currently outlined they will have a detrimental impact on the most vulnerable people in our society." ENDS

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