HC Deb 23 June 1997 vol 296 c406W
Mr. Robert McCartney

To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland if she will permit housing benefit to be made available in the form of loans for deposits and first month's advance rental on private sector accommodation. [3831]

Mr. Worthington

No. There is no provision within the housing benefit legislation for the award of loans and there are no plans to change this policy.

The Northern Ireland Housing Executive is supporting a rent guarantee scheme, which avoids the requirement for an advance or deposit, operated by the Simon Community (NI), a voluntary organisation working with the homeless. The scheme is currently operating as a pilot exercise in the Belfast area and, if successful, is likely to be extended in its scope.