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
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
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
- Mark Fowler, Director of Gateway and Welfare, London Borough of
Croydon (ARCH member).
- Martin Williams, Welfare Rights Worker, Child Poverty Action
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
- 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
Watch the evidence given to the Works and Pensions
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