Bath housing association Curo has added its voice to calls for the Government to amend Universal Credit calculations that will leave tenants across the country without enough money to pay their rent.
The shortfall is due to the calculation used by Government which pays Universal Credit (UC) monthly, while housing association rents are charged weekly. This year weekly rents are payable 53 times, however UC payments only recognise 52 weeks’ of rent.
Curo Director of Tenancy Services, Sarah Seeger, said: “We are very concerned about the impact on our tenants because it’s clear that the 12 monthly Universal Credit payments will not cover all the weekly rent payments that fall this year.
“We responded strongly to the Work and Pensions Select Committee’s consultation on this issue, detailing the impact it could have on landlords and customers. We’ll continue to campaign on behalf of our residents on this important issue.
“It is unfortunate that it has taken a Work and Pensions Select Committee investigation, evidence from housing associations and local authorities, and many months for the Government to recognise that this is a real problem, not simply one of perception as it had initially stated.
“We welcome the Government’s acknowledgment that this is a genuine issue, however they have yet to specify what they will be doing about this. We look forward to hearing the details.”
As the largest housing association in Bath, one of the first areas to pilot UC, Curo has consistently pressed for improvements to the system.
Curo’s activity has included rigorous research, advising the Department for Work and Pensions on service improvement, lobbying about the impact of Universal Credit regulations and presenting evidence to the Work and Pensions Select Committee in the House of Commons.
Curo has a dedicated team of staff who assist customers that are struggling with their benefits or finances.