Committee's Response to DWP Housing Benefit Reform Consultation

Room 242
Parliament Buildings
Tel: 028 9052 1787
Fax: 028 9052 1667

23 September 2011

Our Ref: CSD/017/2011/SK

Richard Worledge
Social Security Policy and Legislation Division
Department for Social Development
Level 1, James House
2-4 Cromac Avenue
Gasworks Business Park
Ormeau Road
Belfast BT7 2JA

Dear Richard,

Housing Benefit Reform – Supported Housing Consultation

At its meeting of 15 September 2011, the Committee received a briefing from Departmental officials and the Voluntary Sector Housing Policy Forum on the Housing Benefit Reform – Supported Housing DWP Consultation.

The Committee questioned the relevance of the proposals contained in the consultation document to Northern Ireland and proposed that a specific consultation be developed and issued for Northern Ireland.

Given that Housing Benefit is administered differently in Northern Ireland in comparison to England, Scotland and Wales, the Committee queried whether an overhaul of the current Housing Benefit system in Northern Ireland is necessary.

The Committee also has some concerns with the consultation proposals if implemented in Northern Ireland, particularly with the different circumstances with the current Housing Benefit system and needs here.

By way of illustrating these different circumstances, attached is a submission from the Voluntary Sector Housing Policy Forum presented to the Committee at its 15 September 2011 meeting.

Yours sincerely

John Simmons
Clerk, Committee for Social Development

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