Freedom of information response

Universal Credit

Publication date: 
Tuesday 17 September 2019
Request: 

1. What were the total rent arrears from council maintained/owned housing for the financial year 2018-2019: (Please supply as both a monetary figure, and a percentage of council homes rental income collectable)

2. For the financial year 2018-19, what was the average level of arrears, in monetary value, of tenants receiving:

a) Universal Credit

b) Legacy benefits (the old Housing Benefits).

3. What is the current average level of arrears, in monetary value, of tenants receiving:

a) Universal Credit

b) Legacy benefits (the old Housing Benefit)

4. In your housing accounts, have you had to increase your bad debt provision because of the introduction of Universal Credit? Are you able to express this as a monetary value? If possible I would like information on this since Universal Credit was introduced in 2016.

5. To mitigate the financial risks to the HRA through potential losses in collection and increased bad debt impairment, have you had to invest more funding into tackling rent arrears since the introduction of Universal Credit? If so, can you express how much as a monetary value?

6. What was the total number of evictions from council properties (with rent arrears being the primary reason) for the financial year 2018 - 19?

7. Have you undertaken any assessment of the impact of Universal Credit on your current or future finances and services? (E.g. the ability to build new homes, or offer tenant welfare support) If so, then please disclose it.

Response: 

1.  £1,160,968.22 - 2.2%

2.  a) Universal Credit = £593,008.83
     b) Legacy benefits (the old Housing Benefits) = £185.32

3.  a) Universal Credit = £791.00
     b) Legacy benefits (the old Housing Benefit) = £168.36

4.  As part of the continued monitoring of the budget which is undertaken throughout the financial year,  so far it has been identified that there has been an increase in rent arrears as a result of Universal Credit.  This position continues to be monitored closely, and factored into the forecast outturn position.  Whilst no actual adjustments have been made to the bad debt provision yet, it is likely that an increase will be required.  We are not able to provide a monetary value at this stage as this will be part of the age debt analysis that will be undertaken formally at the end of the financial year.

5.  Employed a further Financial Inclusion Officer - £34k

6.  44 Evictions

7.  At this stage, the Council is continuing to monitor the impact of UC on its rent arrears provision.  In the event that there is a significant requirement to increase bad debt provisions, then this will need to be considered as part of the overall budget setting process.  At this stage, we are not predicting that this will impact the ability to deliver services or the objectives of the business plan.

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Request reference:
FOI 9342