Best Coalition

Cliff Edge Coalition NI

The Minister for Communities committed to bring forward legislation to extend bedroom tax mitigations indefinitely; protecting up to 38,000 households affected from an average loss of £50 per month.

The Campaign

In 2015 the Northern Ireland Executive committed £585 million over four years to a mitigation package to protect vulnerable people in Northern Ireland from the harshest aspects of welfare reform like the bedroom tax and benefit cap. These vital protections were due to end in March 2020. In early 2019, in the face of this looming cliff edge, with no functioning NI Assembly in place to extend these crucial mitigations, the Cliff Edge Coalition NI was formed.

The Coalition has grown to a group of over 100 member organisations, campaigning to ensure the current welfare mitigations were extended beyond March 2020. Also that mitigations are strengthened to take account of new challenges such as Universal Credit, including the two child limit, and cuts to housing benefits in the private rented sector.

The campaign heightened awareness among the public, elected representatives and other stakeholders about the looming cliff edge. In so doing, the narrative also shifted to reflect the urgency of both extending and strengthening the mitigations.

awards

We are delighted to have been shortlisted for the Best Coalition award. The breadth of our 105 member organisations highlights the interconnectedness of issues relating to social security and the importance of working collaboratively.”

awards

We are delighted to have been shortlisted for the Best Coalition award. The breadth of our 105 member organisations highlights the interconnectedness of issues relating to social security and the importance of working collaboratively.”

The Change

As a result of the campaign, the restored the NI Assembly deal included a commitment to reviewing and extending welfare mitigations. Additionally, the Minister for Communities committed to bring forward legislation to extend bedroom tax mitigations indefinitely; protecting up to 38,000 households affected from an average loss of £50 per month. Department for Communities officials confirmed that regulations will be amended to extend the other existing mitigations.

 

The future

The Coronavirus crisis has had a devastating impact on people who are relying on social security and has thrown into sharp focus the need to have a strong, fair safety net. The Cliff Edge Coalition is continuing to campaign to ensure legislation to extend the existing welfare mitigations is passed as soon as possible and is drafted to ensure that it remains fit for purpose in the current context. An agreed review to strengthen the mitigations package is progressed in a timely manner and is carried out through a co-design process, involving those directly affected by welfare reform.

Who else was involved?

The 105 member organisations involved in the Cliff Edge Coalition. People affected by the issues raised by the Coalition who have contributed their personal testimony to campaign materials and who personally gave evidence to the joint Westminster Northern Ireland Affairs Committee and Work and pensions Committee Inquiry in June 2019. Weber Shandwick who provided PR, social media and lobbying support.