40% Increase in Southern Health Boards rent supplement bill.

The Southern Health Board`s rent supplement bill has increased by more than 40%. This is despite no major increase in the number of people claiming the allowance. The health board paid out 46 million in rent supplement in 2003 an increase of 14 million from 2002.There are nearly 9,000 people in Kerry and Cork receiving rent supplement an increase of just 39 from the beginning of 2003. According to the Department of Social and Family Affairs this rise is due to the increasing cost of rent in the private sector.