Friday, December 13, 2019
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Housing associations demand major Universal Credit changes

Landlords say the current Universal Credit system is not fit for purpose.

The Scottish Federation of Housing Associations (SFHA) has written to the Parliamentary Under Secretary of State for Welfare Delivery, Will Quince MP, demanding major changes to the Government’s flagship Universal Credit scheme.

The Federation is calling for a number of changes to how the new system operates, including changes to the Universal Credit payment system.

Housing associations say the minimum five-week wait for an initial payment must be scrapped and replaced with a more flexible payment frequency.

Where housing costs are paid directly to the landlord, the Federation says the system needs to be “fit for purpose”, with the landlord receiving the payment on the same cycle as the tenant.

The Government should also improve work allowances and reduce the taper rate, restore inflation linked uprating to working age benefits from April 2020, increase funding for support and advice, improve data sharing between the DWP and social landlords, and make it easier for landlords to request direct rent payments.

Sally Thomas, SFHA Chief Executive, said: “Like our sister organisations across the UK, we have major concerns over the current system.

“It is not fit for purpose and is leaving many at risk of, or living in, poverty – and this must be addressed urgently.

“These six asks must be delivered, and we have challenged Mr Quince to do this.

“We have also invited him to visit us in Scotland, where we can showcase some of the great work our members do and discuss further how we could work together to combat poverty and improve opportunities.”

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