As part of the Welfare Reform process, arrangements for rate rebate are changing. In addition to a 10% cut to the budget for rate rebate, in the future rate rebate will no longer be part of AME (Annually Managed Expenditure), moving instead to DEL (Departmental Expenditure Limits). This means that rate rebate will not be linked to demand.
The Northern Ireland Executive must therefore put in place new arrangements to manage rate rebate, ensuring that it is targeted at those most in need of support with their rates bills. NIFHA welcomes the opportunity to respond to the second consultation on these new arrangements as they will have a significant impact on our members and their tenants.
Housing associations in Northern Ireland currently collect rates from their tenants included in their rent payment and are liable for the total rateable value of their properties. Changes to the administration of rate rebate could therefore have a significant impact.
Housing associations are working closely with tenants, often in partnership with advice agencies and other support networks, to help them prepare for the impact of welfare reform. NIFHA and our members would be concerned about any changes to the rate rebate arrangements that could potentially place additional stress and financial pressure on housing association tenants at a time when they are already under considerable strain.
Read more of the Rate Rebate Replacement Arrangements Consultation Response