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ARCH annual report

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

 

Download it here.

Parliamentary briefing issued with NFA 02/02/2017

Following publication of our joint Welfare Reform survey, we've issued a briefing to Members of Parliament and the House of Lords.


Since its introduction in April 2013, ARCH and the National Federation of ALMOs (NFA) have been monitoring the impact of Universal Credit on levels of rent arrears of households living in council owned homes. Our latest analysis reports information as at 30 September 2016, and is the most recent report in the ongoing joint research.

 

Our latest joint research report published on 16 January 2017 charts the impact of Universal Credit on the rent arrears of households living in council owned homes. More than two and a half years on since its introduction, Universal Credit continues to have a devastating impact on those households and their ability to maintain rent payments. Also, problems experienced by Universal Credit claimants have not subsided but have dramatically worsened.

 

The Parliamentary Work and Pensions Committee held a one-off evidence session on Monday 23 January and heard from a panel of experts and representatives from charities, landlords and local authorities on progress in introducing Universal Credit and what impact it is having.

 

  • Nick Atkin, Group Chief Executive, Halton Housing Trust.
  • David Finch, Senior Economic Analyst, Resolution Foundation.
  • Mark Fowler, Director of Gateway and Welfare, London Borough of Croydon (ARCH member).
  • Martin Williams, Welfare Rights Worker, Child Poverty Action Group.

 

The session focused on the following topics:

 

  • How Universal Credit has changed from its original inception, and what effect this has had on its ability to deliver against its aims.
  • How well Universal Credit supports claimants in a changing economy that includes increased prevalence of zero-hour contracts, self-employment and in-work poverty.
  • The impact on claimants of in-work conditionality, sanctions and receiving a single payment in arrears each month.
  • The knock-on effect of introducing Universal Credit on other organisations, such as local authorities and housing associations.

 

Watch the evidence given to the Works and Pensions Committee.

 

ARCH and the NFA has reinforced some of the evidence submitted to the Work and Pensions Committee by circulating a Parliamentary Briefing on our latest Welfare Reform survey.

 

However, in a speech to the National Housing Federation's Welfare Reform Conference in January, Caroline Nokes MP (Under Secretary of State for Welfare Delivery) gave no indication of any likely policy change from the government - particularly in allowing Universal Credit recipients to have the choice of asking for their rent to be paid direct to their landlord when she said:

 

"Universal Credit is a transformative change in helping people to break free from benefit dependency. A crucial part of this increased independence is paying housing costs as part of the overall Universal Credit payment, direct to the claimant. Enabling people to stop saying 'the council pays my rent,' and - instead - to say 'I pay my rent'."

 

Read the full transcript of the Minister's speech.

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