An impending cut to Universal Credit is set to worsen the £360m rental loan crisis across the UK that has emerged during the Covid-19 pandemic, a charity has warned.
Calculations from Stepchange Debt Charity, which provides free loan advice, showed that almost half a million private tenants are now trying to stay on top of £360m in rent arrears nationwide, with private renters owed an average of £800m. is less.
The charity warned on Friday that the government’s plan to cut Universal Credit by £20 a week would make the crisis worse.
“Covid support schemes, while a lifeline for many, have not been able to help renters address their dues and with Universal Credit cuts and imminent termination, there is a real risk of thousands of people losing homes ,” said Phil Andrew, Chief Executive of StepChange.
Mr Andrew said his donation was calling for “dedicated financial assistance” to help renters reduce their rent debt and keep their homes in safe custody.
“By establishing a dedicated rent debt fund, and eliminating planned Universal Credit cuts, the government can avert the threat of evictions, problem debt and homelessness that will exacerbate financial and social problems and hinder economic recovery,” he said. said.
StepChange’s research, which included responses from more than 8,600 people, also suggested that nearly one in 10 renters expected to be evicted from their homes as a result of their debt within the next 12 months.
The charity highlighted the case of a woman who works for a travel company and found herself in arrears of £2,000 in rent during the pandemic.
“My husband has been suffering from Covid for a long time and although he is at work, the stress of not hitting his goals is really affecting his mental health,” she said.
“That’s just about earning enough to pay the rent, but not enough to be able to contribute to the dues.”
Earlier this month, financial Times The report said that internal government modeling showed that Universal Credit cuts would lead to an increase in homelessness and food bank use, with a Whitehall official telling the newspaper that the impact could be “catastrophic”.
However, a spokesman for the Department for Work and Pensions insisted last week that no formal impact assessment had been made for the decision.
On Monday, Work and Pensions Secretary Therese Coffey sparked anger by suggesting that Universal Credit claimants should simply work more hours to make up for the £20-a-week cut.
“We’ll see what we can do to help people secure those extra hours, but ideally to make sure they’re also in a place to get a better paying job,” Ms Coffey told bbc breakfast.
This suggestion was later challenged because Universal Credit payments are designed to be automatically adjusted to reflect one’s income level, meaning an additional £20-per-week earner The person will also lose some part of his profit.
PA. Additional reporting by
Credit: www.independent.co.uk /