Thursday, 28 June 2012

The Government must re-examine rent allowance cuts - Brady

The Government’s approach to the cut in rent allowance is ill thought
out, and has created a great deal of fear and anxiety among those in
receipt of the payment. That’s according to Wicklow Sinn Féin councillor 
John Brady who is calling on the Government to re-examine the decision, 
made in the 2012 Budget, to cut the rent supplement by €22m leading to
new rent limits being set.

Cllr Brady said “Although this cut was announced in Budget 2012, it is
only now that families and individuals are receiving their review
letters informing them of these new limits. This has left many
families extremely worried about their future. Many of them found it
hard to find a landlord who would accept rent allowance in the first
instance, and will find it very difficult to renegotiate their rent

Cllr Brady continued “Some are facing the prospect of having to move,
and quite often it can be difficult for a tenant to find suitable
accommodation in the same neighbourhood, meaning moving further from
friends and family, or perhaps moving a child to a different school.
It is entirely unfair of the Government to expect such a vulnerable
category of tenants to renegotiate these rents downwards themselves,
when they are in such a poor bargaining position.”

“I believe that the Government need to go to landlords, and negotiate
with them directly on this issue, to ensure that families are not
forced from their homes. Sinn Féin has also consistently argued for
the use of the tens of thousands of NAMA properties which are
currently unused to be used to house those on the housing list, and
those getting rent allowance. However in Wicklow we don't have large
volumes of ghost estates or large quantities of empty housing, so i am
calling on the Minister for Housing Jan O'Sullivan to change the
government policy of not building any more social housing. We have
large tracts of land reserved and in recent years councils in Wicklow
have spent nearly €10m purchasing land in Bray and Greystones. One
site in Bray cost €6.1million alone and is now a haven for antisocial
behaviour and will probably never be used for the purpose it was
purchased which was to try tackle the massive housing list." continued
Cllr Brady

Cllr Brady concluded “The Government’s response to this issue has been
meagre. They have even failed to provide any support and information
as to how to go about asking their landlords for a reduction in their
rent. There are 98,000 people in receipt of Rent Allowance in Ireland,
and this includes all from single parents, to families, to the
elderly, however, they are rarely in a position to play hard ball on
rent. The Government’s number one priority as regards Rental
Accommodation should be ensuring that none of those currently relying
on it will be evicted on account of this decision.”

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