Wednesday, 13 March 2013

Housing Benefit Direct - A Universal Mistake.

The Secretary of State for Works and Pensions, Iain Duncan Smith is a great proponent of the Universal Credit. A major aspect of this scheme is the payment of housing benefit direct to the recipient subject to certain exemptions. The notion is that this will increase the recipient's sense of responsibility and self worth. Mr Smith's Department has been running six pilot schemes across Britain to gauge how well this will work in practice.

Unsurprisingly rent arrears have increased substantially in all six areas. In one area, Wakefield, the number of tenants in arrears has increased over fivefold. If the Minister did not anticipate this, then he should be handing back his red box and if he did anticipate it then he should equally be handing back the box. We are told that, "lessons will be learnt," from the results of the pilot schemes. There is only one lesson that has to be learnt and that is that the scheme does not work and will merely push more people into rent arrears and possibly into the hands of loan sharks and payday lenders.

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