Call for Carers Allowance not to impact on council rents

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A local councillor says the Carers Allowance should not be taken into account when calculating council rents.

Councillor Jim Ryan opposed the inclusion of the scheme as part of the social housing threshold, stating that it sends out the wrong message.

The last time this was reviewed was in 2018, and he says it is not reflective of the times we are living in now with the cost-of-living crisis.

The Thurles based independent councillor says carers should be rewarded, not punished.

“Basically, what I’d be looking for is for the county council to carry out a new review of the way we calculate the rent for our council tenants. I would be looking for the acquirement of the carers allowance income included when calculating rent be taken out of it. Other county councils around the country do that, so I can’t see why Tipperary County Council can’t follow that. I think under the current financial crisis that we are in and the service that carers give around the country, it’s only right and fitting that we look after them by taking out that allowance income when deciding what rent people have to pay on council houses.”

The reply from the housing section was that there was no date to review the way rent was calculated and what schemes would or would not be included in this process.

While Cllr. Ryan suggested the exclusion of the Carers Allowance, Councillor Seamus Hanafin said he did not think the Family Income Supplement should be included in council rents.

Cllr. Hanafin says availing of these types of schemes shouldn’t have to affect rents.

“The Family Income Supplement is something given to people who are working, and there’s a problem with it being used as part of the reckonable income for rent but also as part of the income to reckon if somebody is eligible for social housing or not. So, when you’re at someone’s total income, they include the Family Income Supplement. That, and the Carers Allowance, probably shouldn’t be included in that.”