Budget and Universal Credit
The speech came, one of the key points for many landlords was the amazing turnaround with regards to universal credit. When you consider this was the Governments flagship welfare policy, it was a shock to listen to Philip Hammond explain its future.
Maybe the government is finally listening to the voters.
Mr Hammond spoke about concerns raised by landlords, tenants and other key stakeholders in the social housing industry over universal credit. Many have lobbied the government stating that switch to universal credit is causing intense hardship for claimants.
To address some of the issues the chancellor has outlined the following:
- The six-week waiting time for Universal Credit cut to five weeksin U-turn as part of £1.5billion package
- UC advances will be worth a full month’s pay and repayment period will be doubled from 6 to 12 months
- Recipients of Housing Benefit to continue to get it for two weeks during transition to Universal Credit
The main anxiety amongst all concerned has been the six-week wait claimants have been forced to endure before receiving their first payment, resulting in many tenants being evicted.
Now the Government are suggesting this is cut to five weeks and additionally make it easier for tenants to receive and advance, hopefully this will reduce the number of social tenants being evicted when they are switched to the UC system.
He further stated that he would remove the seven-day waiting period so entitlement for universal credit starts on the day of the claim, adding that any household needing an advance can access a full month’s payment within five days of applying. Let’s hope that these advances are spent effectively on insuring a person has a home to live in. The repayments of these advances has also been extended to twelve months from six.
All that are involved know that half the issue with universal credit comes when a claimant transfers from their current welfare method to the UC welfare system. It seems that the chancellor again has been listening or the government realise with their slim majority they have to make changes.
Now any new universal credit claimant in receipt of housing benefit will continue to receive the support for the first fortnight when transferring to the new system.
Finally, it appears that the Work and Pensions Secretary, will be outlining additional details on changes to the flagship welfare policy in the Commons.
However, the changes will not come into effect until early 2018. As a landlord what are your thoughts will it improve private social housing or are we just papering over much larger issues?