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The ARCH annual report for 2015-16 is now available to view.

 

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Lord Freud agrees to discuss ARCH/NFA Welfare Survey 04/03/2016

Lord Freud, Minister of State for Welfare Reform, has offered a meeting with ARCH and the NFA to discuss the findings of our joint Welfare Reform survey.

 

The survey showed that since the roll out of Universal Credit in April 2014, 89% of those in receipt have accumulated rent arrears, with 34% subject to an Alternative Payment Arrangement (APA).

 

Both the NFA and ARCH were extremely concerned about the proportion of tenants who have moved across to the new Universal Credit falling into rent arrears and the consequent hardship this is undoubtedly causing for claimants and sought a meeting with the Minister responsible for welfare reform.

 

Lord Freud has responded to these concerns and has invited ARCH Chair, Cllr Ellis and NFA Chair Hugh Broadbent to a meeting at the Department for Work and Pensions to discuss the survey findings. A date for the meeting is being arranged.

 

The research also revealed that the current six week assessment period for UC claims, combined with the initial seven day waiting period, is having serious consequences on tenants' ability to maintain rent payments.

 

The NFA and ARCH have urged the government to:

 

  • Abandon the current seven day waiting period for entitlement, and
  • Speed up the  assessment process to three weeks. Bringing UC processing periods closer to the two weeks usually achieved for Housing Benefit. 
  • Reconsider earlier calls by ARCH and the NFA for 'direct payment' to landlords to be made available as a choice for all tenants, as called for by the ARCH Tenant Group, and set out in the joint ARCH/NFA manifesto.

 

We'll keep you updated on the outcome of the meeting.

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