Universal Credit is not a debacle Parliament told by IDS!

Universal Credit is not a debacle Parliament told by IDS!

10:15 AM, 10th December 2013, About 10 years ago 12

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Mr Iain Duncan Smith the Work and Pensions Secretary, admitted to Parliament yesterday that the Universal credit system was not yet ready for couples who make a claim.

This was after a storm on Sky News using NLA figures showing that the number of landlords letting to people on benefits has crashed from 46% to just 22% in the last three years.  52% of landlords say they would not consider letting to someone on benefits and 70% of those who do have experienced rent arrears in the past 12 months averaging £3,000 each.

Universal credit has been widely criticised in all the pilot areas it has been rolled out in by landlords. In every area it lead to a significant increase in rent arrears largely because tenants are now responsible for their own household budgets with housing benefits not being paid directly to landlords.

Mr Duncan Smith told Parliament that reforms were on track despite delays and writing off more than £40m worth of software designed for the new Universal Credit with a further £90m of equipment that would be worthless in five years’ time.

MPs on the Commons work and pensions select committee were told that claims by couples had to be handled manually because the computer system could not cope as it was designed for single adults and had not been configured for couples or claimants with children.

Mr Howard Shiplee, the former London Olympics executive who was brought in this year to trouble shoot, told the MPs that problems arose if a single claimant met a new partner and moved in with him or her. He said “As the potential for claimants to change circumstances, for things to change … the more complicated it becomes.

“Therefore the next stage is to work on couples. That will be a complicated issue. Couples come together, they divide, they have children, things happen.”

“This sort of software is not something you get on the back of a cigarette packet. It’s complicated.”

Mr Duncan Smith claimed the scheme’s assets were worth £152m and Universal credit could ultimately boost the economy by up to £38bn over ten years by moving claimants off benefits.

It was confirmed last week that the 2017 target for the full introduction of Universal Credit will be missed with 700,000 claimants facing a longer wait.Universal-Credit

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Neil Patterson

10:19 AM, 10th December 2013, About 10 years ago

I wonder what percentage of Landlords would claim it was a debacle?


10:26 AM, 10th December 2013, About 10 years ago

Reply to the comment left by "Neil Patterson" at "10/12/2013 - 10:19":

Could only guess at the percentage Neil but i suspect that it would have two 00 s after the first 1 ! !

Neil Patterson

10:37 AM, 10th December 2013, About 10 years ago

Reply to the comment left by "chrisbusy " at "10/12/2013 - 10:26":

Agreed Chris,

If it looks like a duck, walks like a duck, quacks like a duck

It is a debacle!

John Curtis

10:47 AM, 10th December 2013, About 10 years ago

It's a good job we don't run our property businesses like they run the Government.
They have no idea of costs and budgets or living within their means. To write off £130m on IT is criminal. Most people write contracts that when the goods are delivered and work they pay, not pay to develop the goods and then write it off!
No wonder the country is in the mess it is.

Mick Roberts

11:49 AM, 10th December 2013, About 10 years ago

U telling me other Landlords won’t let to HB tenants.
I get roughly 60 calls a week from HB tenants wanting houses, & get roughly one come up every 3 months, & when that does come up, it’s normally a swap with existing tenants.
That’s 780 unhappy tenants every 3 months that’s not getting houses.
And even I who love the HB tenants, the challenges, the good income am sometimes thinking eventually I want out this HB hassle as one gets older, & the unknown of Universal Credit.

And they go on about couples together & split up, divide etc. Well HELLO Mr MP??? Have u thought of asking us Landlords on the ground who deal with this every day?
And your own HB staff who could tell u this happens, they are the specialists who could have ruddy told u all the different scenarios.

And this is before we start to get the tenants who spend their whole monthly income in one go, because as we know, they’re gonna be paid ONE monthly sum at once, & 2 weeks later, there will be no money left for food, gas, elec etc.

This Tory Govt is taking away the basic fundamentals of Welfare, to help some people who ain’t got a lot of money, it will soon be making a lot of them struggle more than they would pre-Universal Credit.

And Ian Duncan Don’t Listen Smith, thinks they gonna get jobs ‘cause of UV? Yeah right, people out there with degrees that want to work & can’t find jobs. Most of my tenants don’t want to work, so not gonna’ change them.
And those that do want to work ARE LOOKING & being on UV wouldn’t change that.

Adam Hosker

12:43 PM, 10th December 2013, About 10 years ago

The number of people renting to Benefit claimants is down, but Universal Credit just has a few test pilots.

Those statistics will show that LHA is not working rather than Universal Credit?

I look forward to it been taken out of the hands of our incompetent local council. Our issues with LHA tenants would not be as painful if the council was not asleep at the wheel.

Jeremy Smith

13:52 PM, 10th December 2013, About 10 years ago

Reply to the comment left by "Mick Roberts" at "10/12/2013 - 11:49":

No Mick,
Alot of Landlords won't take HBers, can you not tell by how many come to you for a place to live ? !!

I spoke to a property letting agent the other day, who said they have a simple arrangment to have the HB paid directly to them from day one:
They say the deposit is 2 months, but as soon as the tenant moves in, without a deposit, they are two months in arrears, so the council will pay the HB to the agent directly from day one.
She told me it was the lady in the Housing department at the council that suggested it !!
- Damn good idea I thought !!

Adam Hosker

14:56 PM, 10th December 2013, About 10 years ago

Deposit is not rent, the legislation is clear than you have to be in RENT arrears for 8 weeks.

Now, you can require two months rent in advance (not a deposit) then they are therefore in arrears - but that is not an ideal solution.

OR you can use Tasker Payment Services (or other simular services) and put that bank account on the tenants claim form with their concent and get paid direct. They can switch but most dont.

Mick Roberts

15:04 PM, 10th December 2013, About 10 years ago

I din’t think LHA was gonna work when it came in, but I hope Jonathon Clarke agrees with me here, I’m a bit of a fan of it now, not the direct pay to them fiasco, but knowing what tenant will get beforehand.

Sounds like Adam has silly Council, as most or normal staff are, look for an excuse to not pay claim instead of ‘How can we pay this claim’. I suppose I’m fortunate in that, I have a few people higher up in the chain, I just email my queries, most things get solved in a few days & urgent ones ie’ payment not come, I just ring my chick at the council who either sorts it there & then, or tells me what she needs.
U have to complain to Ombudsman, win Thousands in compensation, Council don’t like doing this, Ombudsman recommends they give u ONE competent person who can deal with all your claims, & voila, less stress moving forward.

Yes, 8 weeks in Advance is quite the norm nowadays, have to put 8 weeks arrears on the form, same again, different councils interpret it differently.

I have even better ways, but cannot divulge all my secrets ha ha, ‘cause the more of us that do it, the Govt will close my little loopholes.

Don Holmes

15:23 PM, 10th December 2013, About 10 years ago

Reply to the comment left by "Jeremy Smith" at "10/12/2013 - 13:52":

May sound a good idea but actually incorrect ,In the first place HB/LHA/UC will not under any circumstances pay a deposit, the legislation does not make provision for it.

It may consider a month's rent in advance or the applicant may be advised to seek a crisis loan to cover the advance rent, indeed some authorities offer a bond support scheme to cover deposit (not wort the paper they are written on) but not deposit up front?

What you can do and is good practice, is have your AST point out clearly that "Rent is in advance" so technically you could show if the rent was not in advance that the rent is "in arrears" Problem is I doubt you will get away with it, as benefit is paid in arrears. Another issue you could face is and i have actually experienced this, is What and how will a judge interpret it if you have to commence possession proceedings, In my case he refused to accept that the tenant was in arrears because they should be in advance, also arguing that we new HB was paid in arrears so should have expected some delay so discharged my application on the grounds that "as of the court hearing" the rent was not 8 weeks/2 months in arrears! as effectively it was in the post??? I know the judge is not there to make moral judgments only legal one's, but some interpret the law very different than you and me, so you have to make that decision and consider, once you issue the notice "What will a Judge think"?
And if it is that you do not intend to bite, then do not even bother barking!!

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