Limavady’s economy is set to lose an estimated staggering £16 million per annum, while every person of working age in the district will lose more than £700 per year under the British Government’s welfare reforms, new research suggests.
The report, The Impact of Welfare Reform on Northern Ireland, carried out by researchers at Sheffield Hallam University and commissioned by Northern Ireland Council for Voluntary Action (NICVA), estimates the reforms - not yet fully implemented - will take £750m a year out of the Northern Ireland economy, equivalent to £650 a year for every adult of working age but, by 2014, in Limavady that figure will stand at £730.
Across the whole UK only Blackpool will be harder hit than Derry, where each person of working age will lose £900.
The research suggests the North West will be particularly hard hit with Strabane set to lose £870 per working age adult.
The research ranks Limavady as being seventh hardest hit in the UK.
Locally, of the 26 district council areas in Northern Ireland, Limavady is ranked fourth hardest hit after Derry, Strabane and Belfast.
The research states reforms to housing benefit would affect 1,400 households in Limavady, at a cost of £1 million. Reforms to Disability Living Allowance would affect 1,200 individuals at a cost of £2 million. Changes to incapacity benefits would affect 1,500 individuals at a cost of £5million. Reforms to child benefit would affect 4,600 households at a cost of £2 milllion, the research states.
Trudi Hylands, Money Debt Advisor at LCDI in Limavady said the news was expected, but disappointing.
“It’ll impact a lot of my clients as they’re relying on their benefit payments to pay mortgages,” Ms Hylands said yesterday. “A lot of clients use tax credits to make essential payments on their household bills so it has to have a knock-on impact for me, as a lot of clients are on the breadline. This could put them below it.”