Skip the NI Direct Bar
Skip navigation

Welfare Reform in Northern Ireland - second report on potential impacts published

The Department for Social Development has today published the second in a series of reports which show the potential impact of Welfare Reform on local people.
Wednesday, 27 March 2013

The research is based on the latest available data from the UK wide tax and benefits system and examines for the first time how the proposed benefit changes will impact people in Northern Ireland.

The reports published today look specifically at the introduction of size restrictions in the social housing sector, changes to the rules for receiving Employment and Support Allowance and the introduction of Personal Independence Payment.

Commenting on the reports, Minister for Social Development, Nelson McCausland, said: “The development and publication of these reports is important in that it informs our understanding of the potential impact of the different Welfare Reform proposals within the Northern Ireland context.

“As I have previously said I have concerns about the local impact of some of these changes and this concern would appear to be borne out by some of the information in these reports.

“I am continuing to work with Executive Colleagues and Ministers in Westminster to ensure that the particular needs of people here are taken into account.”

The Northern Ireland Omnibus Survey January 2013 Social Security Agency module, comprising questions relating to Welfare Reform, was also published today alongside the impact reports. The Northern Ireland Omnibus survey captures a snapshot of the views and attitudes of the population of Northern Ireland.

Commenting on the findings, the Minister said: “The report shows that friends or relatives are the first point of contact for most people seeking help to understanding information about benefits or tax credits. This finding reinforces the importance of informing the public about the proposed changes.”

Impact reports on the introduction of size restrictions within the social housing sector, changes to the rules for receiving Employment and Support Allowance and the introduction of Personal Independence Payment are now available at the DSD website. The Northern Ireland Omnibus Survey January 2013 report is available at: DSD website

Notes to editors:

  1. The research has been produced by the Analytical Services Unit of the Department for Social Development. They are based on the Policy Simulation Model used by the UK Tax and Benefit System designed by the Department for Work and Pensions.
  2. The Northern Ireland Assembly has devolved responsibility for social security but in practice this is delivered on the long standing principle of parity. i.e. an individual in Northern Ireland will receive the same benefits and be subject to the same conditions as an individual elsewhere in the UK.
  3. Subject to approval by the Northern Ireland Assembly and the Northern Ireland Executive, the Welfare Reform Bill for Northern Ireland will result in changes to the benefits system.
  4. For more information on both the introduction of size restrictions within the social housing sector, changes to the rules for receiving Employment and Support Allowance and the introduction of Personal Independence Payment, or indeed any of the Welfare Reform Bill proposals, go to the nidirect website
  5. An omnibus survey is a sample face-to face survey which contains questions about a wide range of issues. The Northern Ireland Omnibus Survey is carried out by the Central Survey Unit (CSU) of the Northern Ireland Statistics and Research Agency (NISRA) on a regular basis and is designed to provide a snapshot of the lifestyle and views of the people of Northern Ireland.
  6. There were 1,154 respondents, aged 16 and over, with households drawn from the Land and Property Services Agency list of private addresses which is the most up-to-date listing of private households and is made available to NISRA for research purposes. People living in institutions (though not in private households in such institutions) are excluded.
  7. Media enquiries to DSD Communications Team on 028 9082 9496 or email press.office@dsdni.gov.uk. Out of office hours please contact the Duty Press Officer via pager number 07699 715 440.