Housing, The Benefit System

– Amendment to Welfare Reform Bill

Direct payment of housing benefit to be reviewed

The government will come under pressure to review its plans for direct payment of housing benefit in parliament today.

Crossbench peer Lord Best has tabled an amendment to the Welfare Reform Bill calling for tenants to be given a choice as to whether housing benefit is paid direct to them or to their landlord. The bill is currently being debated in the House of Lords.

Under the proposals as part of the welfare bill, the housing element of the universal credit will generally be paid direct to tenants.

However, campaigners are concerned the new rules will mean tenants fall behind in rent payments, meaning they could risk losing their home. Housing associations are also concerned the change could discourage lenders from investing in the sector.

Last month welfare reform minister Lord Freud announced six demonstration projects to trial direct payment of housing benefit.

Lord Freud said changes would not affect ‘vulnerable people and pensioners’ but that the ‘majority of claimants renting in the social sector will be responsible for making direct payments to their landlords’.

Website: Inside Housing


Amanda Frewin

Research & Project Support




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