Universal Credit: progress review inquiry

Evidence submission to the Public Accounts Committee

  • By London Councils

This evidence submission is based on the emerging evidence from the four London boroughs to which Universal Credit (UC) full service has already been introduced. Specifically, this submission concerns the interaction between UC and the provision of emergency temporary accommodation. In summary:

  • The design of UC has resulted in extremely low collection rates when households are placed in short-term emergency, nightly paid, temporary accommodation.
  • The low collection rates have clear negative consequences for local authority finances, with collections rates as low as 16.6 per cent in the London Borough (LB) of Southwark for households in emergency temporary accommodation claiming UC, and rent arrears of £211,000 in LB Croydon.
  • This is an issue that particularly affects Greater London, with 72.6 per cent of all English households living in temporary accommodation being placed by London boroughs.
  • This evidence strongly supports the case for the Government to consider removing nightly paid accommodation from UC (whist retaining other forms of more stable temporary accommodation).