Delays in universal credit benefit payments for housing costs are leaving claimants unable to pay rent and pushing some deep into debt, a committee of MPs has heard.
The government’s own research suggests that a lengthy wait for Universal Credit, which combines six existing benefits into one, has been a key contributor in pushing some claimants into rent arrears, the government’s own research has found.
Universal Credit combines existing benefits such as tax credits, housing benefit, income support, Jobseeker’s Allowance, and employment and support allowance.
But a new study by the Department for Work and Pensions found that around a quarter of new claimants waited more than six weeks to be paid.
Many experts, including Tory MP Heidi Allen, believe that the roll-out of Universal Credit, which is being introduced gradually across the UK, should be suspended.
Allen told the BBC that the government “should slow down a little bit and get it right”.
David Smith, policy director at the Residential Landlords Association, which represents more than 50,000 private sector landlords, said some members were now “increasingly reluctant” to offer accommodation to tenants on universal credit.