Our chair Sir David Bell has written a column for Inside Housing this week, urging everyone in the sector to support calls for Universal Credit to be changed and improved.
He recalls how the weekly rate for Universal Credit was increased by £20 in April 2020, intended to last for a full calendar year. He calls for this to be extended to help those in greatest need.
“Work has never been more precarious, and zero hour contracts have meant that, for many, incomes have disappeared overnight. For others, the pandemic has forced them to navigate the complexities of the welfare system for the first time.
“That has led to a wider recognition that being supported through Universal Credit is not a hand-out but a help-out, and is the absolute minimum that a civilised and decent society should be doing for its most vulnerable citizens.”
He makes the case that such a move would not only be good for those receiving UC, to provide stability, but also for wider society, with more money circulating in the economy.
The column also calls for those on UC to have the option of having the housing element of Universal Credit paid directly to their landlord from the beginning of their claim. – and not have to wait five weeks for their first payment when they claim.
He concludes: “Here are two aspirations for 2021. First, Universal Credit should be upgraded permanently. Second, what about us all making a collective commitment to push hard for a fairer and more generous welfare system? As 2020 has demonstrated, it is as much about what we value as a country, as it is about what we can afford.”
If you have an account with Inside Housing, you can read Sir David’s full column here: