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Ó Snodaigh cautions against proposals to cut rent supplement payments

12 October, 2011 - by Aengus Ó Snodaigh TD

Responding to reports that the government is to target rent supplements for spending cuts in the Budget, Sinn Féin Spokesperson on Social Protection Aengus Ó Snodaigh cautioned against cutting the payment which he says would only end up piling more hurt on already struggling people.

Deputy Ó Snodaigh also said that the local authority housing stock is grossly insufficient to meet the scale of the housing need that exists.

He said:

“Any change to the rent supplement scheme must take account of two things. Firstly the payment is designed to be paid only to those people who cannot afford accommodation and secondly the local authority housing stock is grossly insufficient to meet the scale of housing need that exists.

“The Minister has spoken repeatedly of her plans to transfer people from rent supplement onto the Rental Accommodation Scheme. That might give rise to a saving on her own department's balance sheet but it will actually cost the state more.

“Instead of contemplating cuts to rent supplement that would impoverish families on the brink of homelessness, all the relevant actors must come together, including the Departments of Social Protection, Finance and the Environment, so that a lasting solution to the rocketing rent supplement bill can be found.

“NAMA and other vacant properties must be used to increase the local authorities housing stock. This costs money upfront but the resulting savings on rent supplement and revenues raised through differential rents would be worth it.”

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