Briefing: Opposition Day Debate on Universal Credit

By: Poppy Terry  Published: October 2017


This briefing was prepared ahead of an Opposition Day Debate on pausing and fixing the roll-out of Universal Credit.

Summary

This briefing was prepared ahead of an Opposition Day Debate on pausing and fixing the roll-out of Universal Credit.

Shelter supported the original policy intention of a combined Universal Credit (UC) to simplify and reduce the very high withdrawal rates of the legacy benefit system.

But the payment of housing costs through the housing element of UC is emerging as a significant problem.

Often tenants do not receive their benefit in time to pay their rent and are put at risk of eviction and homelessness. These delays mean that some landlords who used to accept people on benefits are now refusing tenants who are on UC, severely limiting their housing options.

UC is also causing significant problems for the provision of suitable temporary accommodation for homeless families. Shelter strongly recommends that temporary accommodation should be exempt from UC.

Furthermore, the freeze on the rates of housing benefit private renters can receive is increasingly pushing families towards homelessness. Unless these rates are reviewed, the government is setting UC up to fail many private renters.

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