Tick icon
I am the notification bar, pleased to meet you.
Close close icon

Looking to feature your news?

Submit your articles to appear in members news

Click Here

SFHA welcomes Scottish Government call to halt Universal Credit full service roll-out

Posted In


For immediate release: Wednesday 22 March 2017

SFHA welcomes Scottish Government call to halt Universal Credit full service roll-out

The Scottish Federation of Housing Associations (SFHA) has welcomed today’s (Wednesday 22 March) announcement by the Scottish Government that it has written to the UK Government requesting the halt of the roll-out of the full service of Universal Credit “until problems with its implementation are fully resolved”. (1)

Feedback from SFHA members has revealed the system is causing hardship to vulnerable households and has resulted in unprecedented levels of rent arrears. (2)

Mary Taylor, SFHA Chief Executive, said:

“The DWP highlighted that further roll-out of the full service of Universal Credit would only be done if it was ‘safe’ to do so. With so many families and households falling into debt and forced to use food banks to get them through the initial period, it is clear the system is not safe. (3)

“We have been calling on a halt to the roll-out of the full service until the issues have been resolved, and welcome the Scottish Government’s intervention.”

Dr Taylor continued:

“The SFHA shares many of the concerns expressed by the Scottish Government in both the design and administration of Universal Credit.

“The method of assessment is flawed in that it is based on claimants coming to Universal Credit from salaried employment paid monthly: this is not the case for a substantial number of claimants who simply do not have the money to tide them over for the six weeks.

“The initial seven-day wait before claimants are eligible for Universal Credit immediately puts them at a disadvantage of having a week’s arrears – under previous benefits, claimants were able to get help with housing costs from day one.

“The assessment method for Universal Credit also puts claimants at a disadvantage if they have a change of circumstance during the assessment period – previously, entitlement was calculated on a daily basis and claimants received a pro rata payment.

“The administration of Universal Credit exacerbates issues. The six-week wait for an initial payment is made worse if it becomes a 12-week wait because of errors, and the worry is even greater when you consider that Universal Credit full service has no gateway criteria and affects all claimants, including families with young children.

“The SFHA has found that the average level of arrears for tenants claiming Universal Credit in live service areas is much higher than that of tenants that are in arrears but not on Universal Credit. The level of arrears for tenants on Universal Credit in full service areas is even greater.”

Dr Taylor concluded:

“The DWP is not engaging with organisations trying to help claimants who are having problems with their Universal Credit applications. An increasing amount of time and money is being spent by housing associations, and others, to help and support their tenants – this cannot be maintained if the volume of cases increases, as it will do if the DWP increases the rate of roll out from five to 50 Jobcentres a month.”

“Universal Credit Director General Neil Couling promised that the accelerated roll-out of Universal Credit full service would only go ahead if it was safe and secure to do so. Now is the time to make this judgement call.”


For further information, please contact Kirsten Walker on t: 0141 567 6221 m: 0788 788 8348 email: kwalker@sfha.co.uk


Visit our website at www.sfha.co.uk

Follow us on Facebook www.facebook.com/SFHA.HousingScotland

Twitter www.twitter.com/sfha_hq


  1. http://news.gov.scot/news/call-to-halt-full-service-roll-out-of-universal-credit
  2. http://sfha.co.uk/mediaLibrary/other/english/8014.pdf
  3. https://hansard.parliament.uk/commons/2017-01-17/debates/B8EEB96C-261A-4773-9F97-77AE7911065C/DWPPoliciesAndLow-IncomeHouseholds  
  4. The Scottish Federation of Housing Associations (SFHA) was established in 1975 and has around 116 members providing affordable housing and wider community services across Scotland, as well as a further 200 sector associates. The SFHA is owned and governed by its members and exists to lead, represent and support the work of housing associations and co-operatives throughout Scotland www.sfha.co.uk
  5. The SFHA is the voice of housing associations and co-operatives in Scotland. SFHA members own and manage 80% of the 280,000+ housing association stock across Scotland. Together, housing associations and co-operatives provide housing for almost 500,000 people, which is one in every 11 households.
  6. Over 11,000 staff are employed by SFHA members across Scotland. 
Url has been copied