Universal Credit cut puts 100,000 renters in England at risk
Housing charity Crisis has warned that the government’s £20-a-week cut to Universal Credit will put at least 100,000 renters at risk of eviction in England.
Since the start of the pandemic, the number of private renters who rely on benefits in England has jumped to one in three.
Thousands are now at risk of becoming homeless if the Universal Credit uplift is withdrawn as planned.
Renters are being squeezed from all angles, as the end of the furlough scheme and eviction ban in England both coincide with the cut in Universal Credit.
Chief executive of Crisis, Jon Sparkes, said: “For many struggling renters this cut could be the final blow that forces them from their homes.
“The UK government must change course and keep the £20 uplift so that people don’t needlessly lose their homes this winter and we have a fighting chance at recovery. The UK government assured people they would not lose their home because of the crisis; we must not fail them now.”
Crisis estimates that it will end up costing the taxpayer more overall for local councils to help evicted households with emergency housing.
The impact of the Universal Credit cut could be far-reaching, with almost a third of private renters relying on benefits to pay their bills.
In May 2021, almost 2 million private renters relied on housing benefit or Universal Credit, with over half a million new renters claiming benefits since February 2020.
Director of campaign group Generation Rent, Dan Wilson Craw, said: “Without the uplift, and with the end of furlough … we will see another surge in eviction notices served in the run-up to Christmas.
“There’s still time for the government to step in with a Covid rent debt fund to clear renters’ arrears and keep people in their homes.”
A spokesperson for the government said: “Universal Credit will continue to provide vital support for those both in and out of work and we will deliver a fairer and more effective rental market that works for both tenants and landlords.”
They added that the government is putting aside £750m to help the homeless over 2021-22.