CIH calls for changes to Universal Credit plans
The coalition government’s plans for the new Universal Credit need significant revision to help create a fairer system, says the Chartered Institute of Housing (CIH).Submitting its evidence on draft regulations to the Social Security Advisory Committee, CIH has raised concerns about several of the proposals for Universal Credit. In particular, CIH is extremely disappointed about the abolition of help for claimants starting new employment. The current system gives 4 weeks’extra benefit to people who start a job after more than six months’ unemployment.
Gavin Smart, Director of Policy and Practice at CIH, said: “The decision to abolish the current system of extended payments contradicts the government’s objective of improving incentives for the long term unemployed to take up work.”
CIH is also concerned about key service charge items that may no longer be eligible for assistance under the new plans, and has called for amendments to the regulations to give clarity on eligibility. Several items currently eligible for housing benefit, including maintenance of communal areas, furniture, concierge services, lift maintenance and door entry systems may be excluded from Universal Credit. This could particularly affect landlords with tower blocks, who will be among those especially anxious about the financial implications.
Gavin commented: “The current plans for Universal Credit are not yet comprehensive enough – providers of supported and sheltered accommodation, for example, do not know how they will be affected. CIH will continue to work with government to address the details of these proposals and support housing providers to prepare for the changes.”