Housing Benefit (Welfare Supplementary Payment) Regulations (Northern Ireland) 2017

Part of Executive Committee Business – in the Northern Ireland Assembly at 1:15 pm on 16th January 2017.

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Photo of Eamonn McCann Eamonn McCann People Before Profit Alliance 1:15 pm, 16th January 2017

Mr Agnew made a most salient point when he said that, after four years — he put it more strongly than anybody else — the bedroom tax will be alive and well and imposed on the people of the North. By that stage, of course, more than 34,000 people might be affected by it; how do we know? The one part where I disagreed with Mr Agnew was where he said that, after four years, we would have to legislate again. No, we will not, Steven. As things are — if there is no legislation to cover the period after 2020 — the bedroom tax will automatically be imposed. Let us be absolutely clear about that.

People say that we got rid of the bedroom tax. I am not terribly interested in the argument, increasingly heated, between the two biggest parties about who is responsible for getting rid, as they claim — wrongly — of the bedroom tax. I was roundly abused by a member of the DUP over the weekend because I would not give them full credit for having, as they put it, "got rid of the bedroom tax". We have not got rid of the bedroom tax. The bedroom tax is here. The difference to the previous situation is that the Executive — the state — are paying the bedroom tax for the 34,000 people whom we mentioned. However, the bedroom tax is here. The difference will come after the year 2020. How will it be paid then and by whom? So, can we give over with this stuff about who got rid of the bedroom tax? None of you got rid of the bedroom tax. When I say all this —