‘Bedroon tax’ a financial penalty on family life: McGahan

SINN FEIN MLA Bronwyn McGahan has severely criticised the Westminster government for introducing the so-called ‘bedroom tax’.

If passed by the Northern Ireland Assembly, the welfare benefits cut will severely penalise more than 700 of Dungannon District’s poorest families.

The Fermanagh and South Tyrone representative stated: “Sinn Féin has consistently stated that the Bedroom Tax under the Welfare Reform Act would be near impossible to manage given the current housing stock and segregated housing in the North of Ireland.

“I asked the Minister of Social Development Alex Attwood how many homes would be required in order to meet the requirement of people in the Dungannon area who are affected by the Bedroom Tax.

“At present in the area there are not enough homes to meet the current waiting list without adding 715 homes to the list. There is no possible way that everyone required to move under these new regulations will be able to resulting in them losing benefit or being forced into the private market or onto the street.

“Amongst those who will be penalised are foster families, families who children chose to go to University, parents who are split and have joint custody as well as single people who may be forced to share with a stranger.

“Having a home is a basic human right and Sinn Féin intend to fight this Act until the British Government realise that it is a penalty of family life as opposed to cutting the budget for housing benefit.”