Northern Ireland's politicians may have found a way to allow up to 40,000 householders avoid paying a new bedroom tax even if power-sharing collapses on Monday, but planned policy initiatives in several areas, including health, will be postponed if elections are called.

The bedroom tax was introduced by the British government in 2013, but the Stormont Executive had decided it would not apply in Northern Ireland.

The tax, also known as the under-occupancy charge, applies to public housing tenants who have a spare room which results in a reduction in their housing benefit payment.

It was introduced in order to encourage tenants living in larger council houses with bedrooms they do not use to move to smaller properties.

However, legislation to allow that exemption has not yet been processed.

Now, it seems Assembly members will have a chance to vote it through on Monday, the day the administration is set to be dissolved if the two parties in government, Sinn Féin and the Democratic Unionist Party, cannot settle their row.

But several other key policy areas will be affected if Stormont closes for elections.

A plan to tackle hospital waiting lists was due to be announced this month but is now likely to be shelved.

The vice president of the body that represents health professionals in emergency departments has appealed to politicians to get back to work.  

Sean McGovern of the Royal College of Emergency Medicine says his colleagues working across emergency departments are feeling disappointed and angry.

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