Burton: No decision made yet on rent supports
Tanaiste Joan Burton has insisted she is not pre-empting the findings of a Government review on rent supports for struggling households.
Ms Burton said earlier this week she was not in favour of increases to rent supplements as she believed they would only inflate the rental market and impact on lower income workers and students.
The comments were interpreted by homelessness campaigner Fr Peter McVerry as a sign Ms Burton had already made up her mind on the outcome of the review, which is examining whether increased supports are needed in some parts of the country.
However, last night the Social Protection Minister insisted she had yet to rule increases in or out.
Ms Burton's spokesman said the review of the supplement scheme was ongoing and the Tanaiste would be guided by its findings.
"The review is awaited and will largely determine whether limits are increased or not. This is precisely what happened last year, when we increased rent limits in a number of urban areas, including Dublin," the spokesman said.
"No decision has been taken as of now," he added.
The spokesman said Ms Burton had been raising a point which she felt many critics of the scheme limits had failed to appreciate, that rent supplement increases tend to drive up rental prices generally.
Under the scheme people whose only source of income is social welfare can seek a monthly rent supplement to help cover the cost of accommodation.
Depending on where you live the supplement can vary from €450 to €950-a-month for a family with three children.