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Eastbourne & Willingdon Lib Dems

Universal Credit

October 24, 2017 11:25 AM

I spoke yesterday in parliament about how many of the 1.5m private sector rented tenants on Housing Benefit across the UK could, unless the Gov make it easy for landlords to receive direct payments from tenants on Universal Credit, be in danger of losing their homes if they fall behind with their payments.

Because, bluntly, private landlords don't have the capacity to just 'not' be paid for months on end, as councils and housing associations sometimes do in emergency situations. And this is happening in many instances as UC is rolled out.

I urged the government to pause the rollout to prevent a possible disaster in the making, particularly in the HB private rental sector!

I've real concerns that unless the government stop the rollout or make it much easier to pay the landlords direct, we will have a major problem affecting some of our most vulnerable citizens.

Say god forbid 30%, or 450,000 people are evicted, can you imagine the consequence. Where would they go? Many councils are already stretched to the limit.

It just doesn't bear thinking about.

In Eastbourne I and others - both statutory and charities - are doing our level best to ramp up services and support mechanisms to cope with the expected demand (UC launched in EB week before last) but when a colleague from the Eastbourne Foodbank told me, only a couple of weeks ago, that food requirements from their Hastings equivalent went up a staggering 80%

And that, consequently, they are very worried indeed about the same happening here!

So it beggars belief the government simply refuses to halt the national rollout of Universal Credit before it's too late......