Published: 22nd Jul 2020

The roll-out of Universal Credit in London could cost boroughs more than £23m in rental arrears, a new report has warned. New research by the think tank Smith Institute warns that the five-week wait between making a successful Universal Credit claim and receiving the first payment is contributing to a spike in rent arrears. The Smith Institute found that almost two-thirds of tenants saw a significant increase in rent arrears after claiming Universal Credit, with tenants accumulating an average of £240 in rent arrears in the 12 weeks after they first claimed. The report was commissioned by Southwark Council on behalf of the London Councils group, which has urged the government to address the five-week wait as a ‘serious flaw’ in Universal Credit’s design. Prior to the coronavirus pandemic there were around 135,000 working-age council tenants in London still claiming Housing Benefit. If they were all moved to Universal Credit, … (To read the full article, subscribe below)