Please note: This was not a Consultation but an independent report commissioned by DoF. The report was completed by The New Policy Institute (NPI), a UK research institute which produces evidence-based research on a range of social and economic issues. The final report was received on 14 June 2019.
The Rate Rebate scheme was introduced as part of Welfare Reforms to ensure that support towards paying rates bills continues to be provided for claimants no longer entitled to claim Housing Benefit. It came into operation on 27 September 2017 in line with the phasing out of Housing Benefit and the gradual introduction of UC in Northern Ireland. It is only available to claimants in receipt of Universal Credit (UC) and relies on UC information to calculate entitlement. It helps both tenants and home owners of working age and is administered by Land and Property Services.
The principle aim of the Scheme is to help those who are least able to pay rates whilst also adhering to the general principle of welfare reform.
Due to the absence of a functioning Assembly and subsequent lack of legislative scrutiny, in 2019 an external review of the Scheme was commissioned so as to provide the Department with an independent opinion on whether the Scheme, which is unique to Northern Ireland, was delivering its policy objectives.