‘Negative effect’ of benefit cuts in Northern Ireland

The negative effects of proposed benefit changes on people in Northern Ireland have been highlighted in a report from an Assembly committee.

Committee members express concerns about the potential negative effect of the UK Welfare Reform Bill on vulnerable groups and individuals. Their concerns focus on four areas in particular:

  • The so-called 'bedroom tax' aimed at penalising social housing tenants with unoccupied bedrooms.
  • The proposal to pay universal credit to a single household member, who may not be the one actually caring for children.
  • The impact of the disability medical assessment on young people with disabilities.
  • The new sanctions regime.

Meanwhile the Northern Ireland Executive has published two studies that examine how people will be affected under the new universal credit system. It estimates that 115,000 households will be entitled to an average of £32 more per week; 102,000 will be entitled to an average of £36 less per week; and 88,000 households will see no change. Approximately 620 households are estimated to be at risk from the proposed cap on total benefits received.

SourcesReport on the Welfare Reform Bill, 5th Report (Session 2012–13), Northern Ireland Assembly Social Development Committee, TSO | Northern Ireland Universal Credit Information Booklet, Northern Ireland Executive | Northern Ireland Benefit Cap Information Booklet, Northern Ireland Executive
LinksNIA report | NIA press release | NIE report (1) | NIE report (2) | NIE press release

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