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Changes welcomed to Universal Credit

Posted by Waveney District Council on 19 December 2017 | Comments

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Local MP Peter Aldous and Waveney District Council have welcomed a Government decision which seeks to resolve issues faced by Universal Credit claimants regarding rent payments.

From April 2018 the source of financial support for temporary accommodation will revert back to housing benefit from Universal Credit.

Local Authorities such as Waveney District Council and other temporary accommodation providers described that they were being left with large arrears bills due to the six-week wait that Universal Credit claimants were being subject to. Claimants in temporary accommodation were therefore not receiving their first Universal Credit payment before they move out of the accommodation, so the rent for the accommodation costs remained unpaid.

Mr Aldous has worked closely with Waveney District Council and Government Ministers at the Department of Work and Pensions to identify and make improvements to the Universal Credit system. The employment Minister Damian Hinds MP, met with Peter Aldous and the Leader of Waveney District Council, the late Cllr Colin Law, earlier this year to hear about how Universal Credit could be improved.

Mr Aldous said:

“I am pleased that the Secretary of State has recognised the difficulties that Universal Credit claimants had been experiencing with the housing element of their claim and that the Government will be making the necessary amendments to the policy.

“Although I agree with the principle of Universal Credit moving people into work and out of poverty, as a local MP I heard from constituents their concerns about the way this particular item was working within Universal Credit and I made appropriate representations to Government. I am encouraged that this has been reviewed and acted upon with the view to a longer term solution.”

Cllr Craig Rivett, Waveney District Council’s Cabinet Member for Customer Service added

“Whilst we recognise there are benefits to Universal Credit we are pleased the Government have acted on our advice.  We will continue to work with the DWP and Government to identify further improves to this service”

This change will take affect from April 2018 along with other improvements which include:

  • A transition to Universal Credit payment of two weeks for people in receipt of Housing Benefit moving over to Universal Credit - from April 2018
  • The 7 waiting days at the start of a UC claim will be abolished - from Feb 2018
  • Repayment of UC new claim advances extended from 6 months to 12 months, and the amount the claimant can receive will increase from 50% to 100% of their notional UC award - from January 2018