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A full government assessment of the impact on renters of its decisions to freeze Local Housing Allowance and cut Universal Credit must be published.
So says a joint statement by property, homeless and landlord and tenant interest groups that include the National Residential Landlords Association and Propertymark.
Benefit cuts risk pushing many households into poverty and homelessness, said The Big Issue Ride Out Recession Alliance which published the joint statement this week.
The number of private rented households in receipt of the housing element of Universal Credit has more than doubled in the year to February 2021, said the Alliance. But over half of households in receipt of such benefits have a shortfall between the housing support they receive and the rent they have to pay.
‘The UK Government has confirmed that where such shortfalls exist, the median amount is £100 a month. This points to a need for continued support for families and individuals to cover the cost of rents’.
Since April this year, Local Housing Allowance has been frozen in cash terms, and later this year, Universal Credit will be cut by £20 a week.
‘As organisations representing landlords, letting agents, tenants, people facing homelessness, and debt advice services, we are united in calling on the UK Government to complete and publish a full assessment of the impact of both of these policies on the ability of renters to meet their housing costs.
‘We believe that the UK Government should reverse its decisions to cut Universal Credit and to freeze Local Housing Allowance. To apply policies like these without doing any meaningful impact assessment is, we argue, lacking the necessary foresight and consideration of the impact they will have on people’s security of