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028 9024 5640: Housing & Debt Helpline for Northern Ireland

Welsh tenants increasingly in arrears due to Universal Credit

Community Housing Cymru, a body representing housing associations and housing mutuals in Wales, has reported that Universal Credit is increasingly leading to social housing tenants falling into arrears. 

Tenants with no history of arrears struggling

The research finds that 23% of tenants now in rent arrears were not in this position before moving on to Universal Credit, suggesting that the difficulties associated with new claims and new payment methods may contribute to the build up of arrears. 

7000 tenants took part in this research, which found that the average amount of rent arrears per tenant is now £434, whereas the average debt per tenant was £420 in December 2017. The total debt level for Welsh housing association tenants in receipt of Universal Credit has risen by 150%, and now stands at over £2.8 billion. 

Postpone and reconsider Universal Credit rollout

As Universal Credit has only rolled out to 11% of claimants in Wales, Community Housing Cymru is understandably concerned about the potential for more and more tenants falling into serious debt if the rollout continues. The organisation is calling for the Department for Work and Pensions to postpone and reconsider plans to ensure the policy is fit for purpose ahead of its full roll out.

Universal Credit has been widely rolled out in Northern Ireland, with only 8 of 35 areas still waiting for the introduction of this benefit for new claimants.

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Benefits, Welfare Reform