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From Westminster to West Dunbartonshire

Martin Docherty-Hughes, MP for West Dunbartonshire, joined housing staff from Bellsmyre and Cordale Housing Associations to discuss the impending roll out of Universal Credit and the impact it will have on tenants and local constituents.

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Universal Credit will be rolled out in West Dunbartonshire in November 2018. Staff from Cordale & Bellsmyre Housing Associations briefed their local MP on the actions they are taking to reduce the impact on local families. Plans include extensive communication and information for tenants about the roll out of Universal Credit, early intervention where tenants experience problems paying rent and Welfare Benefit Services delivered in partnership with the Citizens Advice Bureau. The associations are also working closely with the Department of Works and Pensions (DWP) to ensure there are good lines of communications to assist tenants managing their rent accounts.

Mr Docherty-Hughes advised that his team are available to help constituents and partner agencies to address any key concerns they have regarding Universal Credit Claims.

Key concerns raised included the long periods families were required to go without any benefit payment after submitting a new claim and the tenancy risks associated with household rental payments being paid direct to claimants where previously housing benefit was paid direct to their landlord.

Martin Docherty-Hughes said

"With the full roll-out of Universal Credit in West Dunbartonshire fast approaching, I was pleased to have the opportunity to meet with the housing teams at Bellsmyre and Cordale Housing Associations to discuss how this will impact local residents.

Universal Credit is the UK government's flagship welfare policy, but as it's being implemented across the UK we're seeing increasing evidence of the hardship it’s causing, especially amongst vulnerable claimants. It's regrettable that the PM hasn't listened to calls to halt the roll-out - so we must be as prepared as possible.

As the local MP I will be working closely with local housing associations, advice and welfare agencies across West Dunbartonshire to offer assistance to any residents experiencing difficulties with their benefit entitlement."

Kevin Nixon Area Housing Manager for both Cordale and Bellsmyre Housing Associations said,

“We are delighted that Martin Docherty-Hughes MP has taken time out of his busy parliamentary schedule to discuss the issues that our tenants and the associations are expecting as a consequence of the roll out of Universal Credit in. As always our focus at both Cordale and Bellsmyre Housing Association is ensuring we do all we can to help our tenants maintain their tenancy to meet our goal of providing homes and services that make life better”.

Pic: Photos: (Pictured l to r) Kevin Nixon (Area Manager), Gillian Robertson, Laura-Anne Hamilton, Samantha King, Geraldine McKenzie, Lisa-Marie Brown, (Housing Officers), Kim Goode (Senior Caseworker), Martin Docherty-Hughes MP

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