Government approves €55m a year increase in rent supplement

Every part of the country will see increase by as much as 35%

Rent supplements, rents, housing assistance payments, Leo Varadkar,

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The Government has approved an increase in rent supplement and housing assistance payments by as much as 35%.

It will cost up to €55m extra in a full year.

The move has been welcomed by Sinn Féin, but the party says they want to see rent certainty alongside the measure.

Social Protection Minister Leo Varadkar and Housing Minister Simon Coveney brought the proposals to Cabinet this morning.

Some 55,000 people get rent supplement and a further 10,000 are in receipt of housing assistance payment.

Every part of the country will see increase.

The Government says there will be increases in both urban and rural areas reflecting local rents.

These include a 25% average increase in Laois and Roscommon; a 21% average increase in Leitrim, Cork City, Longford, and Galway City; a 29% average increase in Dublin (excluding Fingal); a 19% average increase in Westmeath, Kildare, and Louth; and a 15% average increase in Cavan and Donegal.

The new rent limits will be benchmarked at the 35th percentile of agreed rents, as collated by the Residential Tenancies Board.

There has been a fear that such a move would drive up rents, especially for others.

Minister Varadkar told Newstalk Lunchtime he does not think think this will happen.

While Minister Coveney says there will be substantial increases.

Sinn Féin has welcomed the move, but the party's housing spokesperson Eoin O'Broin says more needs to happen.