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Changes in rent supplement scandalous say Sinn Féin

10 December, 2003

Sinn Féin spokesperson on Housing Arthur Morgan TD hit out today at the Minister for Social Welfare regarding the recent cut in rent supplement. Deputy Morgan said:

"The attack on the rent supplement whereby applicants for rent supplement must have been renting for at least six months is scandalous and retrogressive. The Government has chosen to attack rent allowance for the second consecutive year, following last year's unreasonable cap of rent allowance at E107. While the rent supplement scheme does not represent a preferable method of assisting people in housing, in the absence of housing reform it fulfills a very necessary function, which enables many people who would otherwise become homeless to remain in private rented accommodation.

"It is unacceptable that Minister Coughlan shows no regard for the consequences of this change for people who are at risk of becoming homeless. It contradicts the government stated aim of preventing homelessness. Many people will not be able to meet the 6 month condition such as new refugees, people who become unemployed within six months of moving into private rented accommodation, lone parents, and people who become separated and have to move out of the family home. No evidence has been given showing the necessity for this change and it appears from the disagreement between the Junior Minister with responsibility for Housing and the Minister for Social & Family Affairs that there has been no cross- departmental consultation on its impact or implementation.

This lack of co-ordination and failure to accept responsibility shows a very slip-shod attitude towards the housing needs of citizens of this State" ENDS

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