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Latest survey findings discussed with Lord Freud 09/06/2016

As part of an ongoing dialogue with the DWP, representatives from ARCH and the NFA met Lord Freud, Minister for Welfare Reform, to discuss the latest ARCH/NFA Welfare Reform survey.


ARCH Chair, Cllr Paul Ellis, Chief Executive, John Bibby and representatives of the NFA met with Lord Freud and Neil Couling, Programme Director responsible for Universal Credit, to discuss the latest findings of the ARCH/NFA Welfare Reform survey.

The Minister was provided with a copy of the latest Welfare Reform report and survey which had incorporated a number of specific questions at the request of the DWP following earlier discussions. The Minister was taken through the key findings from the updated survey of members' experiences of Universal Credit


We again pressed the Minister to consider a number of potential solutions including:


  • Removing the seven day waiting period for payment
  • Speeding up the UC assessment process to address the problem of those with insufficient funds available to cover the six week period prior to receiving payment for their first Universal Credit claim
  • Improving information sharing between DWP and landlords on a tenant's claim and when they are likely to be paid and
  • Giving tenants a choice to have payments made directly to the landlord - why can tenants not choose this if they feel it is best for them


The Minister gave no indication that the government would agree to these recommendations. However, he agreed that DCLG officials would look again at the exemptions from the seven day waiting period to ensure that the most vulnerable claimants were not adversely affected. The Minister suggested that local authorities and housing associations should consider moving from charging rents on a weekly basis to a monthly rent charge in line with the proposed changes to the payment of welfare benefits and the practice of most employers in paying monthly.


It was agreed to continue to monitor the situation and keep the matter under review, keeping the dialogue between ARCH, the NFA and DWP open as UC is rolled out across the country.  

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