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Universal Credit. 20-30% don't pay the rent.

(140 Posts)
CogitoErgoSometimes Mon 26-Nov-12 13:58:01


Anyone pick up on this story? As part of the move to Universal Credit where claimants are given a sum of money each month and expected to manage it, a pilot study showed that about 20 - 30% of recipients failed to pay the rent on time. Given cash rather than the money going directly to the landlord, a surprising number defaulted on the rent. Extrapolated up a 20 -30% failure rate would be disastrous and plans are having to be drawn on how to support people in running household budgets and setting priorities.

I'm largely a supporter of UC as I think the current system is over-complex. I also realise that money-management doesn't come naturally to many. But if such a large percentage of people would struggle to manage a monthly benefit income this way, how would they make the transition to paid employment?

Wigeon Sun 02-Dec-12 19:58:12

People on this thread might be interested in the recent report by the Work and Pensions Select Committee on Universal Credit implementation. They took written and oral evidence from a wide range of organisations, and the report was written on the basis of this evidence. The report is rather long, but the summary isn't smile.

I have suggested twice to MNHQ that we invite someone (eg Citizens Advice) on a webchat about UC, but I didn't receive a reply to either email. Maybe if others thought this was a good idea they could also email?

Wallison Sun 02-Dec-12 21:56:51

By far the biggest expenditure on welfare is pensions. People are living longer. But simply raising the retirement age isn't the answer to this - there may be longevity, but that doesn't mean people are fit to work. Once people are in their late sixties/early seventies, they often have multiple health problems which means that they just aren't employable any more. That hasn't changed. The only thing that has changed is that, with lots of medication, they can stay alive longer. And thus cost more as they claim benefits for longer after they stop working. I don't really see that there is a solution to this 'problem.

Xenia2012 Sun 02-Dec-12 21:58:59

Beveridge's plan was you saved and then you drew the money as needed, but the state never set it aside as a separate pot, not even I think the second pension which many people contributed too - SERPs which is perhaps why you should never trust the state over anything. Left and right can probably both agree on that.

Actuaries can work out what an individual/the state will need to set aside for someone working to age 67 and then drawing a pension for 20 or 30 years and then the rate on contribution can be fixed on that basis.

Leithlurker Sun 02-Dec-12 22:06:01

Well thats all sorted then, leave it to the actuaries, except are they not the ones that got the whole mortgage thing wrong? Or what about those that do not pay in enough. Or what about those that take twenty odd years out to care for others. Or even those that leave school with little or no ability to do the three r's, and can only work on either cash in hand or on the black economy.

JakeBullet Mon 03-Dec-12 06:51:17

The thing is Xenia that you did not ever need a "support network", add in a disabled child or other relative and you might have done.

I find it hard to accept that we should dismiss "support networks" for those who need them, it makes society seem harsh and uncaring.

Disability will always be with us, we will always need people who care for relatives and for that to happen there has to be a support network that you seem to so easily dismiss. Add in that these Carers save the taxpayer a fortune by keeping relatives at home instead of in nursing homes etc and it must at the very least break even......despite the Carer perhaps living in an expensive part of London.

The R4 programme was a good listen and the needs of society have changed since Berveridge set up the Welfare State. As you rightly say Xenia, we are living longer. As a result our health costs and other costs increase. It is right that as a society we look at this issue.

MiniTheMinx Mon 03-Dec-12 09:16:10

Excellent point about areas of London now being gentrified at the exclusion of workers and people that have lived in those areas for generations. It is happening the world over including India where slums are cleared to make way for capital investment. The people cleared are not offered alternative space, accommodation or compensation.

Xenia, you seem to think that people should look after themselves, part of that is looking after our own families. For people to be able to support elderly relatives and family with disabilities, they need to live near to each other. If you combine working with caring, the need to be local to your support network becomes even more crucial.

Eugenics? well, I do remember the very first time I encountered Xenia in the politics section. I haven't forgotten that you believe the poor and those on benefits have a low IQ. Or the references to Darwin and survival of the fittest.

Interesting programme on R4 today about global inequality, on at 1.45, The Global Gap

Xenia2012 Mon 03-Dec-12 09:56:43

I don't think we are really disagreeing. It is people concerned about these issues who debate them. A lot of people could not care less.

I think the local issue is a red herring. Most people in the country choose to stay near relatives and an upper cap on weekly benefits of £500 a week (£26,000 a year) when it comes in will not affect them. It is a pretty high upper cap.

Fifis25StottieCakes Mon 03-Dec-12 10:01:19

The cap will effect thousands of people in private housing in London and other high rent area's. High rent area does not mean nice area.

Xenia2012 Mon 03-Dec-12 10:04:48

There is a fund to cushion those affected. Many full time working single mothers have to move for work so I am sure hose who do not even have a job can cope with a move too as they live at the state's and tax payers' beneficence.

It is £500 (but reduces to £350 for adults without children) a week.

It does not apply if you get working tax credit or DLA or are over 64.

Fifis25StottieCakes Mon 03-Dec-12 10:10:48

Yes i read some of the council's are covering the cost of the cap and the bedroom tax. Not sure if other services will suffer due to the extra cost to the council.

JakeBullet Mon 03-Dec-12 11:18:31

I am so fortunate because when the chips were down (and really down) I was offered housing by a Housing Association, as such the changes are not going to affect me. This is what we need.....more housing available to those who need it.

MiniTheMinx Mon 03-Dec-12 11:34:10

Housing associations have earmarked extra funds to cover bad debt as they anticipate the number of people with extra bedrooms who will have a short fall in HB.

Xenia2012 Mon 03-Dec-12 12:09:15

The bigger issue is the old though. I don't think we are doing enough about that. Even the new retirement age of 67 or whatever it will be and the new opted in (but you can opt out) second pension which is very gradually coming into force are not likely to make much difference.

PedroBenefitsMan Sun 09-Dec-12 21:12:21

UC will be administered by the DWP centrally. Unlike Local Authorities (LA) the DWP predict a considerably longer time delay in assessing a claim for UC. The DWP will expect LA's to deal with those customers who can not operate computer applications, but at the same time are pulling funding from LAs. The government are centralising a benefit to basically keep a tight rein on the welfare bill. As for tenants, it is clear with the delay in assessment they will fall behind with rent. Landlords will become agitated and ultimately there will be more homelessness. In turn this will impact on crime and the policing bill. I believe UC is one of the least thought out changes to the benefits system, and as the next few years go on, there will be civil disorder and a recession, beyond anything anyone could contemplate. Oh yes, I forgot to mention an IT system with complexity beyond the most difficult calculus you could imagine. Remember how the NHS central IT system went, oh yes. It didn't did it?

sashh Mon 10-Dec-12 04:44:46

I think what gets me is social housing is cheaper than market rent.

It bloody well isn't.

The odd council housing still around is, but HA and nw builds have to charge market rent.

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