Former rough sleepers being hit by maximum universal credit deductions
Former rough sleepers being hit by maximum universal credit deductions

In the last few months, universal credit has been failing some of its most vulnerable claimants. People who have recently moved into settled accommodation after years of living on the streets are struggling to pay for heating and food – all due to huge deductions being taken from their universal credit payments to repay court fines.

What’s happening

The issue of these large deductions was picked up on by our case workers on the Greater Manchester Homes Partnership, an entrenched … Read more

The five-week wait is five weeks too long
The five-week wait is five weeks too long

Yesterday, we published a report on how the people who use our services have been impacted by Universal Credit (UC). This highlights the issues the introduction of UC has caused, drawing on the voices and experiences of people affected, as well as in depth analysis of the data they have provided. Our findings have helped inform our key recommendations for moving forwards, so if the newly re-appointed Secretary of State for Department for Work and Pensions, Amber Rudd, needs some … Read more

From the Frontline: the ongoing impact of welfare reform
From the Frontline: the ongoing impact of welfare reform

The consequences of the broken housing safety net are laid bare in our new report, From the Frontline. This shines a light on the thousands of people we help every year who are being pushed to the point of crisis due to the continued impact of welfare reform and the introduction of Universal Credit (UC).

The freeze to Local Housing Allowance (LHA), which is housing benefit for those renting privately, is forcing people to make the impossible choice between … Read more

What does the Budget mean for Universal Credit?
What does the Budget mean for Universal Credit?

So, there we have it. The final Budget before Brexit.

An interesting one. Or was it? Well, there were a few terrible jokes (mainly about toilets), and an interesting display of the most pantomime aspects of politics – boos, heckles, cheers, and jeers.

But what does it all mean for Universal Credit? Broadly speaking it means an acknowledgement of errors, more time, and a bit more money. This is still not even close to the money that was cut from … Read more

Is Universal Credit ready for an expansion?
Is Universal Credit ready for an expansion?

Universal Credit (UC) recently made the headlines for the wrong reasons. Esther McVey, the Work and Pensions Secretary, came to parliament to correct her statement regarding the National Audit Office’s (NAO) recent report on the government’s flagship benefit. The NAO’s report found that UC is not value for money, and it has significant doubt about its main benefits.

Managed migration makes the problems more immediate

The report’s conclusions became immediate in the last couple of weeks, as plans have been … Read more

New DWP proposal will trap people in their homes, and in debt.

New DWP proposals to protect landlords’ rental incomes are in danger of trapping people in their homes, creating a modern day version of a debtor’s prison.

Last year Lord Freud committed to protecting landlords’ rental incomes under Universal Credit.  To do this, DWP propose that tenants in rent arrears have 40% of their core benefits deducted until rent arrears are cleared – that’s 40% taken from JSA, Income Support or  Standard Allowance under Universal Credit.

DWP have not put forward … Read more

An unlikely pairing? Universal Credit and the bank of mum and dad

Statistics and survey results from claimants taking part in Universal Credit Pathfinders have been released by DWP today.

The stand out fact is that the number of people who have actually moved on to Universal Credit is relatively small: just 2,150 people in the Pathfinder areas.

The survey results don’t tell us much about how people are coping with housing costs in the Universal Credit system, which is a shame – as we know this is often one of the … Read more

Small-scale Universal Credit pilot dodges crucial tests

If Betsy Duncan Smith had been in a humorous mood when the Work and Pensions Secretary arrived home on Monday night, she could have screened the movie Ghostbusters.

Day one of Universal Credit reminded me of that scene where the office has opened, the staff are primed – and then they wait and wait for the phone to ring.

So far no one has come forward to actually claim Universal Credit, the cornerstone of the coalition’s welfare reform policy.

This … Read more