Mark Whitehead 12 June 2019

Universal credit causing rent arrears, MSPs warn

The Scottish Parliament has called for immediate action to tackle the problem of rent arrears it says have been caused by the Universal Credit system.

The parliament's social security committee says the housing element of the benefit should be paid directly to landlords and the minimum five-week delay for tenants receiving their first payment must be scrapped.

It also raised concerns over the cost and condition of temporary accommodation and called for housing benefit to be devolved to help address homelessness and rough sleeping.

The MSPs want an urgent review of the local housing allowance so that rates are increased as required to help tenants afford homes in the private rented sector.

Committee convenor Bob Doris said: 'The rapid increase in rent arrears since the introduction of Universal Credit is unacceptable.

'The UK government must take immediate steps to tackle this issue which is costing local authorities and social landlords critical money at a time when budgets are already stretched.'

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