Council’s £1m fund for system
Universal Credit fall-out
A £1 million fund has been created by South Lanarkshire Council to deal with the impact of the Universal Credit rollout.
Council chiefs stated that the reform to the way benefits are paid has already had considerable effects on the their income and costs.
They state that rent arrears, for those affected by Universal Credit, have risen dramatically while increased resources have had to be directed towards dealing with the effects on council business and on helping the people across the region.
The controversial Universal Credit system is now in place for hundreds of job seekers in East Kilbride and Avondale.
Universal Credit operates as a single payment to working-age claimants and is paid monthly.
Applicants receive a single payment and pay rent direct to their landlord.
The first payment is made around six to seven weeks after submitting an online claim.
Daniel Lowe, executive director of housing and technical resources, said: “We have known for some time that last month would be when the Department for Work and Pensions would move Universal Credit to the ‘full service’ stage across our area and that it would create difficulties for many more people who receive benefits and for the council as we work to help those people.
“As a result, we have planned for that situation to allow us to be as wellprepared as it is possible to be for something where the exact consequences cannot be accurately determined in advance.
“In doing so, we set aside £1.187m as part of this year’s budget specifically to help offset the impact of Universal Credit becoming a full service.
“This significant amount will be used as we continue to support council tenants affected by the welfare reform programme, and provide support and assistance to those affected by the under occupancy provisions and the benefit cap as well as those in receipt of Universal Credit.
“The work to date has made a significant contribution in terms of supporting those affected to deal with the impact of the changes, as well as minimising the impact upon the council budget and services.”
Since the introduction of the first phase of Universal Credit’s live service in South Lanarkshire in October 2015, an average of 50 tenants have made a claim every month.
It would create difficulties for people...
The council has established a Universal Credit fighting fund