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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?

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.

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?

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.

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.

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.

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.

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 10:01:19

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 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.

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

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.

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.

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.

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.

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?

Xenia2012 Sun 02-Dec-12 19:24:00

Eugenics? No. I am sure I share most people's views on the subject. Obviously most people in the UK are in favour of aborting down's children and many would support techniques which means couples with a genetic problem can conceive only children who are healthy. This current generation is one of the first in history to be less healthy than its parents because of who much worse our diets and exercise amounts are than 50 years ago so I suppose we are making the species worse and worse at present.
In fact we all had fewer processed foods, a bit less food, intermittent fasting a lot of problems would go.

Fifis25StottieCakes Sun 02-Dec-12 18:23:07

This government can tweek the benefits as much as they like, they will never balance unless they build more social housing or cap private rents. There's land now with planning permission for 14,000 new homes. There's also many empty properties which could be brought up to standard and be used as social housing. Its common sense really. They can move people and cap as much as they like, it's just going to cost them more. ATOS appeal's have already cost 25 million in 6mnths. Not sure how much they have saved.

IMO this is all a knock on effect of the failure to build more housing as planned with funds raised from RTB.

MiniTheMinx Sun 02-Dec-12 18:09:36

Xenia, you are keen on eugenics aren't you?

Xenia2012 Sun 02-Dec-12 18:08:49

The R4 programme is a good one. I'm still listening to it. The man with the 4 children who had many more than he could afford with the foreign wife who seems to think she is entitled to a lot more seems to have a better attitude than his wife. I do think if he cannot get a job then he should be minding the 4 children whilst she does. Most people are only out of work for up to a year so one hopes as he's keen he'll get something. He certainly did not sound like a scrounger but the basic benefits levels is much more than Beveridge expected.

I doubt Berveridge in 2012 would have suggested men of 65 with 20 years to live who are healthy should be killed off. I imagine he would suggest pension age be increased as it is being to 67.

I am not against a welfare state and indeed most people aren't although a lot of people think the incentive to work has been lost. I think it used to cost 4% our income and now it costs 14% the programmes said - that is presumably benefits and state pension. If Beveridge set it up so that most people middle class people would pay most of its costs and never benefit from it as they would not need it then perhaps we should be going to a system where you do not take out at all unless you fall on hard times for new entrants to the jobs market, not those who have worked for 50 years paying their stamp so they get their pension which would mean they had been misled for a lifetime.

Leithlurker Sun 02-Dec-12 17:42:31

So you had no help Xenia and that's all the justification you need for saying others should not Ooookkkkaaayyy.

However you make a bad fist of making a good point, and that is that the welfare system, and please not welfare is not benefits. It is housing, NHS, Education, and Housing. The pillars of security as he called them, has stayed in the same moral and attitudunal focus as when they were written in the 1940's. This is why disabled people are being assessed for work that they cannot do that they will never get even if the work was their. It is why we get the attitude often seen here that the poor should be grateful for their poverty and be accepting that everyone else should get to dictate what they buy, where they buy it from, and what kind of lifestyles they should lead. It also allows people to say things like drug addicts should not get benefit, housing, health care as they "do not deserve it" Drugs were an issue back in the 1940's but no where near as bad or endemic as they are now.

Housing was meant, in fact Beveridge specificly said that council housing should be for everyone, not just the poor, absolutely for the income tax inspectors, bank workers, and essential workers. Why, because it creates communities that everyone has a say in. In short the beloved market, capatalism, and most of all the unchanged moral views of the middle classes have been the main reason why welfare is now seen as the problem.

As w3as said earlier, pensions are the largest part of the welfare Bill, Beveridge had a solution for that too. He was much in favour of Eugenics. Perhaps he would have wanted to make sure people only got a little bit of time after their working life to enjoy retirement. Then again like the other pillars he might have been far more forward thinking and said right time for a rethink.

Fifis25StottieCakes Sun 02-Dec-12 17:24:59

He worked Xenia, he lost his job and his support network i.e friends and family and has 4 young girls to look after. If you cant see anything wrong with that then im speechless

Wallison Sun 02-Dec-12 17:21:45

Xenia, somehow it doesn't surprise me that you don't have any friends, but for most of us these things are important.

Xenia2012 Sun 02-Dec-12 17:17:19

The R4 programme which I have listened to part of, says Beveridge set up the welfare state on the basis you took out what you paid in but there was a very minimal safety net. Also at the time most men died at or before retirement and yet we have not adapted the system to take account of men living to 75.

They compare a hard working man who is out of work with 4 children now and gets about £1650 a month including housing benefit. He would have about half as much in 1942 but a lot of things people now think are essential were not in those days.

What is this "support network" which people seem to need. No one has given me a support network. Most of us work and keep ourselves. We dont' have acres of unemployed local relatives to cook our dinners or look after our children or hold us when we cry.

Fifis25StottieCakes Sun 02-Dec-12 17:04:58

Not to mention the people in the areas they are moving them out to, people have already been moved out as far as Manchester. It will create an affordable housing shortage in these areas. There was a man and his wife had a nervous breakdown. SS ended up at his door and he took the 4 kids back, they rehoused him to a bigger property as they said he would be overcrowded where he was He's now been moved miles away to a town outside of London away from his support network

Fifis25StottieCakes Sun 02-Dec-12 17:00:25

The 2 cheap flats i was looking at were £250 pw in a council tower block. Do a property search for London, the rents are huge. Think i searched in google ex local authority flat london. They are not in nice areas they are like that all over. So a family of 4 gets £252 pw in benefits to live on, any property over £250pw will take you over the £500 cap. I don't think they will be able to move everyone in London out, it's not possible when you consider i found 2 flats on 2 searches for £250 pw. People are going to end up in massive arrears/homeless and private LL's wont touch HB claimants for this reason

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