Monday, January 20, 2020

Ending the Universal Credit five week wait ‘must be a priority for new UK government’

Reducing poverty and fixing Universal Credit must be put at the top of Government's policy agenda, say housing groups.

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The new UK government should put reducing poverty and fixing ongoing problems with Universal Credit at the top of its policy agenda, the Scottish Federation of Housing Associations (SFHA) has said.

Following the shock general election result, the SFHA is calling on the Conservative government to urgently tackle issues that are pushing vulnerable social housing tenants into poverty and hardship.

In particular, the SFHA is calling on the UK government to end the minimum five-week-wait for an initial Universal Credit payment, which the SFHA and three other housing federation describe as “not fit for purpose”.

SFHA is also calling on the UK government to help tackle the growing problem of fuel poverty. Politicians must make warm, energy-efficient homes a priority by reducing the cost of energy and investing in zero and low-carbon technology.

SFHA chief executive Sally Thomas said: “Everyone in Scotland deserves a safe, warm, energy-efficient affordable home.

“The Universal Credit system is still not fit for purpose – it continues to push too many people into poverty.

“Fixing the system, particularly ending the five-week wait for payment, must be a priority for the new UK government.

“Despite housing associations having to meet strict energy efficiency targets, their tenants are experiencing increasing levels of fuel poverty.

“The new UK government must take steps to address energy pricing so that tenants can afford to heat their homes.”

SFHA is also concerned about the Conservatives’ immigration plans. They are calling on the new UK government to commit to ensuring that the UK’s immigration system can continue to deliver labour supply where it is needed.

Ms Thomas added: “We are also asking that the Government makes sure labour supply is delivered where it is needed in the housing sector – whether this is building affordable homes or delivering services.”

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