Structural changes needed to provide fairness for renters

26 May 2022
  • HAP limits have not been updated since 2017
  • Minister must progress Income Eligibility Scheme
  • Differential Rate Scheme must be managed on a nationwide basis

Responding to the ESRI report published this morning Labour finance spokesperson Ged Nash said the government must revise the HAP limits in light of the current cost of living crisis. Deputy Nash said rather than words of sympathy, it’s time for real action from government for renters and those feeling the brunt of the housing crisis.

Deputy Nash said:

“The report published by the ESRI makes for stark reading and it’s clear that structural changes need to occur to support people trapped in a toxic private rental market.

“Labour has long called for the limits of the HAP scheme to be revised in light of the cost of living crisis. Indeed, the scheme has not been updated since 2017 and we are all too aware of the explosion in the cost of renting in the past five years.

“From the report published this morning it’s clear that there are a number of low income renters who aren’t receiving social support and these are the group for whom housing affordability is challenging.

“We need to see targeted measures from government like an expansion of the Income Eligibility Scheme promised in the government’s Housing for All plan. While this has been marked as complete in the progress report, it is only complete because it was brought to the Minister’s table. The reality is that this has been sitting on the Minister’s desk gathering dust. The Minister needs to make a move on this now.

“Responding to the report, Labour are also proposing a National Differential Rent scheme rather than the current devolved system in place in various regions throughout the country as there are wide variations in what people are paying.

“We need a more coherent, responsive system of housing support for people. The report shows how the move from direct local authority building and ABH housing has left low income earners vulnerable to the insecurity of private rented sector and exploding rents.

“I sincerely hope that this report will act as a wake up call to progress the immediate change that that could be implemented such as revision of HAP limits and raising income eligibility criteria, along with supporting local authorities in direct build and expanding the cost rental programme.”

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