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New Housing Benefit rules empoverish thousands in Northern Ireland

Yesterday, 10 October 2011, the Assembly debated a motion supported by Law Centre (NI) to annul the Housing Benefit (Amendment No 2) Regulations (Northern Ireland) 2011.

The Regulations changed the definition of a 'young individual' for Housing Benefit purposes, so that it would cover people under the age of 35, rather than 25.

The statutory rule will immediately affect around 6,000 of the 8,000 people who already live in single occupancy accommodation. Their Housing Benefit will be cut from around £80 a week to £40 — a 50% reduction.

While members were concerned by the potential impact of the changes on individuals in Northern Ireland, due to concerns about breaking parity with Britain the motion was defeated 34 to 55.

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