Finance News

Universal credit scheme concerns

Em Morley - December 25, 2009

Plans under the Government’s new Universal Credit scheme have caused concern over potential rent arrears and even homelessness.

New rules

The new proposals will see housing benefit payments paid directly to tenants and not landlords. Currently, this payment is given straight to landlords, ensuring rent is paid promptly and reducing the chance of arrears. It is feared that by taking the direct payment away, more tenants run the risk of falling behind with their fees.

Northern Ireland

A Social Development Spokesman, who is also a member of the Northern Ireland Assembly, called for payment of housing benefit directly to landlords to be retained in Northern Ireland. The spokesman said, ‘the introduction of Universal Credit will cause many problems, not only for the vulnerable people whose welfare is being attacked but also for advice workers, charities, government agencies and significantly providers of housing.’[1]

Universal credit scheme concerns

Universal credit scheme concerns



The Social Market Foundation has expressed similar concerns. Research from the organisation suggests that a number of low-income households are opposed to the action. Instead, they want the existing payments direct to landlords to continue. In addition, the foundation called for an online-budgeting tool to be set-up in order to assist households affected to keep up to date with payments.