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Under Occupation Should Not Be Penalised

28 November, 2011 - by Fra McCann

Sinn Féin Assembly Housing Spokesperson and West Belfast MLA  Fra McCann MLA has criticised Social Development Minister Nelson McCausland over comments he made about under occupation in Housing Executive properties.

Fra McCann said:

“The Minister needs to understand that many people class these homes as family homes where they have reared the children and lived out most of their lives.

“To suggest that it is unacceptable that 70% of social housing is under occupied does not take into consideration the strong ties people have to these houses.

“It is proposed in the Tory welfare reform bill that people living in under occupied houses could loss 15% housing benefit for one room under occupied and 25% for two rooms empty.

“This could impact on thousands of tenants when you consider there are over 90,000 Housing Executive houses and over 30,000 owned by housing associations the scale of any reduction in housing benefit could force tens of thousands out of their homes.

 “Nelson should join with us in pushing for an increase in the number of new builds that would not only address the housing crisis but also stimulate the economy.”

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