Highland Council raises concerns over Universal Credit
The Highland Council has raised concerns regarding Council tenants who are affected by Universal Credit, at a meeting of the Resources Committee on 26 November.
Chair of Resources, Maxine Smith said: “The exact number of people affected is unknown, however, we are aware of 32 households who are in receipt of Universal Credit of which 30 households are in rent arrears. There is very clear evidence that the move to Universal Credit has resulted in a significant increase in rent arrears amongst this group. This problem is likely to become worse as the roll out of Universal Credit continues.
"Universal Credit is also having an impact on those in temporary accommodation, where most people will receive a maximum rate of £58.46 per week towards housing costs, which does not cover their actual rent costs of between £94.80 and £155.70 per week. We are particularly concerned about this as Universal Credit was not intended to apply to homeless people at this stage.
“The Council will continue to monitor all cases and provide advice and support, and are continuing to liaise with the DWP on this and other matters.”
The Council is taking further steps to support tenants and mitigate the impact of Universal Credit. This includes ensuring sources of information, help and advice are promoted and easily accessible, developing a programme of “Money Sense” sessions, providing a range of options for payment of rent and promoting digital projects across the Highlands.