Housing associations warn of Universal Credit crisis

Housing association federations from all four nations of the UK have warned that Universal Credit is creating a crisis in debt arrears.

The Scottish Federation of Housing Associations, England’s National Housing Federation, Community Housing Cymru and the Northern Irish Federation of Housing Associations have pointed to research from 116 housing associations across the country that Universal Credit is simply not working. In areas where the new system has already been rolled out, tenants already owe £24 million in debt arrears.

The federations are demanding that the policy is fundamentally reworked, with five major changes to the system. These include the end of the ‘two child policy’, permitting housing support to negotiate on tenants behalf, ensuring payments are made on time, giving the DWP flexibility on complex cases, and the restoration of the in-work allowances.

Commenting on the crisis, Scottish Labour MP for Midlothian, Danielle Rowley, said:

“The Tory government’s botched introduction of Universal Credit has plunged thousands of people into serious financial problems.

“There is overwhelming evidence that the poorest people in our society are paying the price of this government’s failures, yet they continue to plough on regardless.

“Universal Credit is driving up millions of pounds of personal debt and rent-arrears.

“Labour has repeatedly called on the Tory government to pause and fix Universal Credit -  it is time they finally listened."

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