DWP figures now show why ‘evictions are inevitable’ under Universal Credit

The DWP logo and boarded up homes
Support us and go ad-free

The Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) has released its latest figures on Universal Credit. But on the same day, a Labour MP issued a stark warning: that “evictions are inevitable” if Universal Credit is rolled out. And the DWP’s own figures make the Labour MP’s damning warning seem highly likely.

The DWP: “stuck in Victorian times”

On Tuesday 11 September, Labour MP for Liverpool Walton Dan Carden led a Westminster Hall parliamentary debate on the rollout of Universal Credit. The controversial benefit, which replaces six existing benefits, has repeatedly come under fire from campaignerstrade unions and others. But the DWP is carrying on with its rollout regardless.

As Carden noted, and as The Canary has previously reported:

the rollout of Universal Credit is only the latest onslaught of a benefits system that is stuck in Victorian times…

He went on to criticise Universal Credit and the DWP more broadly.

Housing chaos

But Carden made one telling point. He said:

I spoke to one letting agent based in my constituency who told me that 100% of the their tenants who are on Universal Credit are now in rent arrears—every single one of them…

He also said that letting agents in Liverpool are:

at the point of refusing Universal Credit claimants altogether.

And as Carden told the Liverpool Echo:

Local landlords are saying… that evictions are inevitable if this roll-out goes ahead – exacerbating what is already a national scandal.

As The Canary previously reported, one housing association issued a damning assessment of Universal Credit. It said that:

  • People on Universal Credit owe 63.7% of all rent arrears. But just 24.9% of tenants are on the benefit.
  • Universal Credit claimants’ arrears have increased by 76% on average.
  • There was a £210,000 increase in arrears due to Universal Credit in a year.
  • Before Universal Credit, the average rent arrears was £207. Now it’s £365.

Conscious chaos

But the DWP figures released on the same day as Carden’s debate suggest it must know that arrears and evictions could well be a consequence of Universal Credit. Because to date [pdf, p8], the DWP is making the majority of payments for housing costs directly to claimants; 94% in the case of the private rented sector:

Universal Credit housing payment breakdowns

So why is this set up causing arrears and evictions? Carden summed the situation up. He said:

Other problems include payment as a single lump sum, including housing costs – causing households to choose between food or rent, especially at the outset of the claim.

And this is ultimately the problem. Universal Credit’s chaotic rollout, plus inadequate payments, are causing people to choose between eating and paying rent. The DWP must know this; its figures show the problem for everyone to see. Yet it continues with the rollout, regardless.

Get Involved!

– Check out the #DWPcrimes#ScrapUniversalCredit and #CrimesOfDWP hashtags on Twitter. Support the blogs Universal Credit Sufferer and The Poor Side of Life. Get involved with Disabled People Against Cuts (DPAC), fighting for disabled people’s rights.

Featured image via Mikey – Flickr and UK government – Wikimedia

Support us and go ad-free

We need your help to keep speaking the truth

Every story that you have come to us with; each injustice you have asked us to investigate; every campaign we have fought; each of your unheard voices we amplified; we do this for you. We are making a difference on your behalf.

Our fight is your fight. You’ve supported our collective struggle every time you gave us a like; and every time you shared our work across social media. Now we need you to support us with a monthly donation.

We have published nearly 2,000 articles and over 50 films in 2021. And we want to do this and more in 2022 but we don’t have enough money to go on at this pace. So, if you value our work and want us to continue then please join us and be part of The Canary family.

In return, you get:

* Advert free reading experience
* Quarterly group video call with the Editor-in-Chief
* Behind the scenes monthly e-newsletter
* 20% discount in our shop

Almost all of our spending goes to the people who make The Canary’s content. So your contribution directly supports our writers and enables us to continue to do what we do: speaking truth, powered by you. We have weathered many attempts to shut us down and silence our vital opposition to an increasingly fascist government and right-wing mainstream media.

With your help we can continue:

* Holding political and state power to account
* Advocating for the people the system marginalises
* Being a media outlet that upholds the highest standards
* Campaigning on the issues others won’t
* Putting your lives central to everything we do

We are a drop of truth in an ocean of deceit. But we can’t do this without your support. So please, can you help us continue the fight?

The Canary Support us

Comments are closed