Landlords “avoid benefit claimants”

Landlords “avoid benefit claimants”

Sky News has claimed that landlords are steering clear of benefit claimants over fears of non-payment.

It ran a story yesterday saying that data from the National Landlords’ Association (NLA) shows the number of landlords letting to people on benefits has halved to just one in five.

Sky News reported that 52% of landlords say they would not even consider letting to someone on benefits because of those who do, seven out of 10 have experienced rent arrears in the past 12 months averaging £3,000 each.

Sky's political correspondent Anushka Asthana said: "The Government's flagship welfare reform forces people to budget by paying their benefits in one monthly lump sum.

"It has been dogged by difficulties amid accusations of weak management and a timetable that keeps on slipping.

"Now fears are rising about the human consequences of this massive reform."

The report comes at a time when Work and Pensions Secretary, Iain Duncan Smith, is due to be questioned by MPs over the delays implementing the Universal Credit Scheme. The scheme combines six means-tested benefits into one monthly payment and is due to be fully introduced by 2017. However implementation of the scheme has been dogged by difficulties.

Buried in additional tables in the Office of Budget Responsibility’s “Economic and Fiscal Outlook”, published alongside the Autumn statement, was the information that instead of the previously expected 1.7 million people on Universal Credit by 2014-15, there would now just be a handful. And in 2015-16, instead of 4.5million, there would now be just 400,000 – less than 10% of the original target. 

Rachel Reeves MP, Labour’s Shadow Work and Pensions Secretary, said: "David Cameron and Iain Duncan Smith repeatedly promised to deliver their flagship policy, Universal Credit, ‘on time and within budget’. That claim, and the credibility they staked on it, now lie in tatters.

"For months on end the Government have tried to avoid answering questions about Universal Credit but these OBR figures tell the truth of how David Cameron and Iain Duncan Smith have broken their promises on a spectacular scale.”