ALLIANCE Party South Down spokesperson Councillor Patrick Clarke has responded to arguments from the Northern Ireland Federation of Housing Associations and the Chartered Institute of Housing which suggests that it would cost £21 million to implement the ‘Bedroom Tax’ in Northern Ireland while only saving £17 million, by calling on the Social Development Minister and the Executive to adopt a common-sense approach on the issue.
Councillor Patrick Clarke said: “While many aspects of welfare reform have the potential to assist and motivate people to move into employment and where appropriate to reduce their dependency on social security, a number of aspects are deeply controversial and counterproductive.
“The ‘bedroom tax’ is perhaps the most offensive aspect of the so-called reforms. Fundamentally, it is a dehumanising measure, which doesn’t adequately take into account personal circumstances and the need for flexibility.”
“But furthermore, in the particular housing circumstances of Northern Ireland, there are strong arguments that it is not only unsuitable but financially counter-productive. Our social housing stock is clearly not designed to facilitate such a measure.
“There is now a strong case for the Minister for Social Development, the Executive and the Assembly adopting a Northern Ireland approach on this aspect of welfare reform, and to make a final case to Westminster for flexibility in this regard, and to consider all other options as to how common sense can prevail locally,” added Councillor Clarke.