AQO 45/16-21

Mr Paul Girvan
Democratic Unionist Party
South Antrim

Tabled Date: 02/06/2016
Answered On Date: 15/06/2016
Priority Written: No

To ask the Minister for Communities for an update on the implementation of the bedroom tax.

I would like to thank the member for his question and in my answer I would also like to address the question from Mr Girvan (AQO (15) 45/16-21), which also relates to Social Sector Size Criteria.
In the Fresh Start Agreement, the Executive committed to the Social Sector Size Criteria or Bedroom Tax not being applied in Northern Ireland. Officials are currently working through options to mitigate the Social Sector Size Criteria to ensure that no household will be financially impacted by the changes in how housing benefit payment is calculated.
The legislation to introduce the mitigation scheme will be brought before the NI Assembly later this year. This will enable the Social Sector Size Criteria to be totally mitigated in Northern Ireland from January 2017.
I am committed to ensuring all households have accurate and timely information about the changes and to assure them that they will see no change in the amount of rent they have to pay. To date neither my department or the Northern Ireland Housing Executive have issued letters informing people that as a result of implementing the Social Sector Size Criteria they need to seek alternative accommodation, or that they will be subject to the Bedroom Tax.