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SFHA responds to Universal Credit changes

Response to UK Budget announcement. 

The SFHA has responded to today’s UK Government Budget by giving a cautious welcome to new measures aimed at addressing Universal Credit’s failings, which are having devastating effects on some of the poorest and vulnerable people.

SFHA Chief Executive Sally Thomas said:

“We are disappointed that the Chancellor did not use today’s Budget to announce the halt of the roll-out of Universal Credit until its failings are resolved. The slow-down of the roll-out, with completion deferred from September 2018 to December 2018, is inadequate. There needs to be a pause in the roll-out until the DWP can give reassurances that its processes are firmly embedded and working as they should.

“While we cautiously welcome the £1.5 billion package to address issues with the delivery of Universal Credit, we are concerned about the effects the policy will continue to have on new claimants until the new measures are brought in – with changes to advance payments only being introduced in December and the seven-day wait period not being scrapped until February 2018. Today’s announcement will also bring little comfort to the people who are already in debt and facing real financial hardship due to the policy.

“We will need to see the detail of how these new measures work in reality and whether they address Universal Credit’s current devastating effects.”

Chancellor Phillip Hammond also announced a £44 billion housing package through loans, guarantees, and capital funding.

Ms Thomas continued:

“Again, we will need to wait for the detail on the £44 billion announced for housing in England and see if this will have any consequentials through the Barnett Formula for the Scottish social housing sector.”

A briefing on the Budget is available for SFHA members. 

Ends

For further information, please contact SFHA Media Adviser 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

NOTES:

  1. 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 commercial 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
  2. 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.
  3. Over 11,000 staff are employed by SFHA members across Scotland.
  4. Housing associations and co-operatives are not-for-profit bodies regulated by the Scottish Housing Regulator.