Plans to improve the Universal Credit system by ending the benefits freeze and promoting direct payments to landlords have been put forward by a cross-party group of MPs.
Under the proposals, outlined in a new report by the All-Party Parliamentary Group (APPG) for Universal Credit said the DWP would:
- End the five-week wait
- Make payments fortnightly by default
- Offer all claimants the option of direct payments to their landlord from the start of the claim
- Inform landlords of this system in order to avoid people unnecessarily falling into rent arrears
- Spilt payments to each member of a couple
- End the benefits freeze
The RLA provided evidence to the APPG’s inquiry into reform of the controversial Universal Credit system, and has long campaigned to have the Local Housing Allowance cap lifted.
John Stewart, RLA policy manager said: “If landlords are to have the confidence to rent to those on Universal Credit, then urgent improvements are needed, and we are pleased MPs are listening when it comes to the practical recommendations we have suggested.
“Our most recent research on the issue found that, of those landlords who rent to Universal Credit tenants, 61% had seen them fall into arrears.
“This is something that could easily be avoided were a direct payment of rent to the landlord set up at the start of a tenancy.
“We also feel the benefits freeze needs to be lifted and LHA rates brought back in line with private rents to help those on benefits and the landlords that house them.
“We need the new government to commit to taking action on Universal Credit.”
To read the APPG report in full click here.
- Want to learn more about Universal Credit? The RLA run courses across the country delivered by LHA and Universal Credit expert Bill Irvine.