‘Under occupancy penalty could force people from homes’ – Brady

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Thursday, May 31st, 2012
Sinn Féin MLA Mickey Brady has said that the Social Development Minister Nelson McCausland must make provision for those people who will be penalised by the Under Occupancy Policy. Speaking to Newry Times, Brady said, “It is proposed in the Tory welfare reform bill that people living in under occupied houses could lose 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.” He continued, “It is important that people are not penalised for living in a house that has been their home for many years.  The Minister Nelson McCausland needs to ensure that people are not forced further into the poverty trap by accruing a penalty on the basis of their home.” “I would call on the Minister to make provision for people who find themselves penalised through no fault of their own by implementing measures to offset the penalty,” he added.  
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