Government Changes to Social Housing Scheme Rents to Target Pensioners and Low Income Earners– Doherty

Sinn Féin Finance Spokesperson Deputy Pearse Doherty has today (Friday) condemned government plans to increase minimum rent payments in the coming weeks for those living in Local Authority housing.

Deputy Doherty’s comments come following confirmation from Donegal County Council that the Department are to introduce changes to the Differential Rent Scheme which will see basic weekly rent payments rise to €24.50, up from the current minimum base rent of €19.50 per week.

Commenting on the plans, Deputy Doherty said:

“I’ve been informed through my colleague Cllr Marie-Therese Gallagher that under new plans brought in by the Department of Environment that basic rent payments for those living in local authority housing are set to rise from the current base rent of €19.50 up to €24.50 per week.

“This will mean that, for all those currently paying below this new minimum charge, they will see their weekly rent payment increase to €24.50 under the first phase of these planned changes to the scheme.

“Following this, incremental rent increases will be introduced which will see minimum rents increased further as this plan will be introduced on a phased basis for tenants of local authority housing.

“I understand that these changes are expected to take effect once a rent assessment, which is currently underway by the council is completed, following which tenants will be notified of these changes.

“This is yet another example of the punitive and deeply unfair policies which Fine Gael and Labour have presided over these past five years.

“These plans will affect those on the lowest incomes the most, and will particularly target older people whose incomes are confined to pension payments.

“How can any government force such harsh measures on our elderly who have already bore so much austerity and cuts, such as reductions to home help hours and previous reductions to the fuel allowance to name but a few.

“Quite clearly both parties have tried to introduce this on the quiet as to not hinder their election chances, but once the ballots are cast only then would the changes be made known.

“This is unacceptable, and I have now written to Donegal County Council seeking confirmation of these changes so that the exact detail may be disclosed.

“I will, along with my party colleagues, be opposing these increases to base rents.”

HSE Must Fulfil Commitment Given on Dungloe Ante-Natal Service

 

Sinn Féin Finance Spokesperson Deputy Pearse Doherty has today (Thursday) demanded answers from the HSE over its failure to deliver on its commitment to re-instate the Ante-Natal and Gynaecology clinic at Dungloe Community Hospital which was suspended in November 2014.

Deputy Doherty’s comments come following a recent response to a Parliamentary Question in which the HSE state that a decision to re-establish the service has not been taken. Deputy Doherty has branded the reply ‘unacceptable’ and is now demanding that hospital management clarify if it will fulfil a commitment which was previously given to re-commence the clinic once staffing issues were resolved.

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