Advice NI welcomes commitment of new Minister for Communities to extending welfare mitigations

Minister Hargey MLA expresses commitment to extend mitigations beyond March 2020.
Bob Stronge, CEO Advice NI said:

“Advice NI welcomes the restoration of the devolved institutions and in particular the commitment shown by our new Minister for Communities Deirdre Hargey MLA, to extending the mitigation package and her commitment to the independent advice sector. This is welcome news for those low income households that rely on these payments to offset the impact of the bedroom tax and the benefit cap. We look forward to working with the new Minister to make this commitment a reality and we welcome the value that Minister Hargey places on our advice services which have done so much to help and support people cope with welfare reform.”
Minister Hargey said:

“As Minister responsible I thought it was important that I engage with the Human Rights Commission, Professor Eileen Evason and also Kevin Higgins from Advice NI who have been working on this package with Departmental officials. I want to provide reassurance that over the coming weeks I am going to bring forward legislation to extend those mitigation payments to ensure that we protect the most vulnerable.”
“I wanted to meet Les and Eileen at an early stage to give them an assurance that in line with what was agreed under the New Decade, New Approach deal there should be an extension to the existing mitigations beyond March. The Human Rights Commission, the Cliff Edge Coalition, and grass roots organisations have done sterling work over recent months to champion this much needed extension to ensure the most vulnerable in our society are protected from welfare cuts.”
“In the absence of the various Welfare Reform policies coming to an end we need to protect those most in need and the poorest across our society. These mitigations, and the associated support provided by the advice sector, have proven that they have done that. There is of course emerging mitigations that need to be looked at as we review the welfare system and I will continue to work with stakeholders in moving forward with that.”

  • Full statements from the Minister can be found at:
  • For further information contact Kevin Higgins, Head of Policy, Advice NI on 028 9064 5919
  • For Welfare Benefits help and advice, please contact the independent welfare changes Helpline 0808 802 0020
  • Advice NI is the umbrella body for the Independent Advice Network in Northern Ireland and its members dealt with 404,594 enquiries in 2018/2019, the majority being social security benefits related.
  • To find out more about the work of the Independent Advice Network or to obtain copies of the various publications produced by Advice NI, please contact us on 028 9064 5919, email  or visit our