Mitigations on a ‘Cliff Edge’

Leading advice sector organisations in Northern Ireland are today calling for renewed focus on protecting social security claimants from the harshest elements of ongoing welfare reform.

Advice NI, Housing Rights and the Law Centre (NI) today (Friday 30th November 2018) launched a joint report which highlights the approaching 2020 ‘cliff edge’ when funding for the mitigation package agreed  as part of the Fresh Start Agreement in 2015  is due to expire.
The report also identifies the impact if these protections were to cease and highlights further areas where protections are required post 2020.

Commenting on the report, Kevin Higgins at Advice NI said;

“We are hoping this report will initiate conversations across the sector and with political and government representatives about the approaching mitigations ‘cliff edge’. It is critical that urgent attention is brought to bear on these issues”

Ciara Fitzpatrick at Law Centre NI stated;

“As advice organisations our work shows us the continuing need for protection from the harshest elements of welfare reform. We are also mindful of  new and significant upcoming challenges presented by the  roll out of Universal Credit which will continue until 2023. Any new mitigation arrangements must take account of this.”

Kate McCauley at Housing Rights commented;

“We note the under spend in some of the previous mitigation arrangements and are calling for this money to be redirected to address the future impact of Universal Credit and measures such as the 2 child tax credit policy. Additionally, government support is required people on low incomes who are renting privately and who have been impacted by welfare reform.”

Notes to Editor:

  1. Welfare Reform: Mitigations on a Cliff Edge will be launched by Advice NI, Housing Rights and Law Centre (NI) at Advice NI’s AGM meeting on 30th November 2018 in Skainos, Newtownards Road, Belfast.
  2. For further information or to arrange interviews, please contact: Kevin Higgins, Head of Policy, Advice NI.
  3. The current mitigation package was agreed following publication of the Welfare Reform Mitigation Working Group led by Professor Eileen Evason in January 2016. Full details and the Evason report are available at:

Other contacts:
Law Centre NI
Ciara Fitzpatrick
Housing Rights
Kate McCauley

Download the Report