Maginness urges U-turn on ‘bedroom tax’

28 02 2013

Bedroom Tax


SDLP North Belfast MLA Alban Maginness has warned Minister Nelson McCausland of the potentially devastating impacts of the so-called “bedroom tax,” and has urged him to reverse his decision.

 Mr Maginness said;

 “In a recent question to the Minister of Social Development, he revealed that almost 4,200 people in the North Belfast area alone would be at risk of financial penalty with the introduction of a “bedroom tax.”

 “This could be potentially devastating for many families who are already struggling as a result of the economic downturn, and will undoubtedly push many into financial hardship, or force them from their homes. The flawed policy takes no account of individual circumstances, such as single parent families who may not have their children living with them on a permanent basis.

 “It also fails to consider ill or disabled people, many of whom rely on overnight carers or the need for extra bedrooms by foster parents who provide a much needed home for vulnerable young people.

 “I have no confidence in the “discretionary payments” that the Minister is promising, and this is a completely unacceptable attempt to plug the hole in this flawed policy. Further to this, the fact that the Minister saw fit to return £15 million to the Finance Minister in the past two months demonstrates a failure on his part to adequately allocate his budget. It is a slap in the face to those who he is taking more money from, and shows his complete incompetence and strategic oversight in relation to financial management.

 “The figures released by the Minister suggest that there will be tens of thousands of people penalised by the introduction of the “bedroom tax” across the North. The SDLP will do everything we can to prevent implementation of this unfair and illogical tax on the vulnerable.”

Welfare Reform will have negative impact on economy

27 10 2012

Ballycastle SDLP Councillor Dónal Cunningham has warned about the economic effects of the Welfare Reform Bill.

The Welfare Reform Bill will impact on those who are currently in receipt of Working Tax Credit, Child Tax Credit, Income Support, Income Based Job Seekers Allowance and income related Employment and Support Allowance (ESA) and Housing Benefit who will be moved to Universal Credit.  

Many working people in receipt of tax credits will have already seen a reduction in Tax Credits from 1 April 2012 and it is likely a further reduction will be imposed by the introduction of this legislation.  The SDLP are opposed to the Bill and believe it is unjust to further attack the most vulnerable in our society.

It is estimated that if implemented it will remove approximately £500m from the North’s economy and will impact on both in work and out of work families. 

 Public sector workers currently working in the delivery of the benefits affected i.e. Housing Benefit (NIHE) Income Support, Job Seekers and Employment and Support Allowance (ESA) and Tax Credits (HMRC) will be negatively impacted with a proposed reduction of up to 1600 jobs. It is important that we all work hard to protect these vital public service jobs.

Cunningham backs motion opposing cap on Housing Benefit

24 11 2011

SDLP Councillor Dónal Cunningham will vote in support of a motion proposed by Councillor Joan Baird which opposes the “cap” on Housing Benefit.
“The Tories brought housing benefit caps in under the guise of forcing London landlords to reduce rents. This policy is wrong in London and even more wrong here.
The cuts, which will be imposed from 2011/12, are directed at tenants in receipt of housing benefit for private rented tenants. Implementing the cap on Housing Benefit will severely disadvantage people who are already in severe poverty, people on benefits and low pay will have to spend more of their incomes on rent and this will in most cases mean surviving on lower levels of food and heating.