Ipswich Unemployed Action.

Campaigning for Unemployed Rights.

The Daily Misery of Universal Credit – Rent Short-Falls, Draconian Sanctions, Waits for already Miserly Payments.

with 44 comments

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“If  they wanted  to set up something to defeat the objectives it was meant to deliver, Universal Credit couldn’t have done a better job…”


Every day there are people in Ipswich Library with problems about Universal Credit.

A major difficulty is rent.

Local Housing Allowance, set up under Labour in 2008, with a number of objectives, including ” inciting”  people to find cheaper accommodation, was never meant to cover the rent for all properties.

Now it’s created out of control problems.

I can’t imagine people I know in London, in work, paying £200 a week (this, believe me, in not made up)  for a room in a shared flat could if they became unemployed and reliant on Local Housing Allowance and Universal Credit.

We all know that people end up cutting back on food and heating to pay for a place to live in – if they can manage that.

Or end up homeless.

Now the triumphant Tories intend to make things worse.

if you wade through the details of this announcement you’ll find that one layer of -meagre – support is about to end.

Apparently it’s because a 1,7% increase means it’s no longer needed.

Targeted Affordability Funding ends as LHA freeze thaws


DWP Minister says the 1.7% increase to the LHA rate negated the need for the funding scheme.

Targeted Affordability Funding (TAF) is over – ending with thehawing of the LHA (Local Housing Allowance) freeze to be replaced by Discretionary Housing Payments.

DWP Minister Will Quince confirmed the end in responding to a written Commons question from Shadow Housing Secretary John Healey.

TAF was introduced in 2014 to shore up LHA rates that had shifted furthest from real local market rents.

Four years on, a report from CIH said TAF had a negligible impact in reducing the number of LHA rates with a gap – being capped at 3% of current rate regardless of the size of the gap.

Healey asked if the DWP was going to maintain TAF for local housing allowance from April this year, when the LHA freeze ends.

Quince said the 1.7% increase to the LHA rate negated the need for TAF.

“For individuals who may require more support, Discretionary Housing Payments are available,” he said.

TAF typically covered 10% – 30% of the gap with the 30th percentile rent before the award was made.

The replacement rates were higher for the shared rate and slightly higher for the four-bed rate – intended to partly reflect the fact that the 30th percentile for both was more volatile in being likely to fall back in years subsequent to an award.

To the CIH, the low replacement rates meant that, on its own, TAF was incapable of keeping LHA rates reasonably well aligned to local (30th percentile) rents.

Last year, a report from Shelter said that as the freeze thawed additional TAF must be made available – with changes made to the way it is administered to ensure those most at risk of homelessness received adequate amounts.

That’s just one part of the welfare regime under Universal Credit.

 Aasma Day in the Huffington  Post does a brilliant job in looking at it on the ground.

Oldham Piloted Universal Credit 7 Years Ago. Here’s The Grim Reality Of What Happened Since.

“If they wanted  to set up something to defeat the objectives it was meant to deliver, Universal Credit couldn’t have done a better job,” says the chair of a housing association in Oldham.

Oldham was one of the areas that volunteered to be a pilot site for Universal Credit in 2013 in the hope it would simplify the benefits system and encourage more people back into work.

But seven years on, those hit by the benefits change tell a different story.

One housing association told HuffPost UK that it lost in the region of £400,000 in rent during the first year of Universal Credit  – money which it won’t recover.  Unlike housing benefit, which was paid direct to the association, Universal Credit is handed direct to the claimant. Currently, 41% of the housing association’s tenants are in arrears.

The social landlord says some of its customers are struggling so much due to the wait for Universal Credit and the problems they experience applying for it, in the last 12 months, they referred an unprecedented 199 people to food banks.

Speaking to  Vinny Roche, chief executive of First Choice Homes, we find,

 “The safety net for the most vulnerable in society has been completely eroded.” he said: “If they wanted to set up something to defeat the objectives it was meant to deliver, Universal Credit couldn’t have done a better job.”

His major criticism of Universal Credit is the five-week wait when people are having to borrow to survive. “You have some of the poorest people in the country having to wait weeks for their money.

“When they finally get their payment, they already owe a fortune to other people, or worse still, to loan sharks.

“The people in real need are now on less money, receive less welfare payments and the  support mechanisms that once helped them have gone. Then the systems for applying for benefits and the sanctions are a lot more draconian.

“A combination of all these things is driving people into abject poverty.”


“The current system doesn’t work. We really need radical change if we are serious about fixing the safety net, reducing poverty and inequality and making sure there is a support network in place for the most vulnerable.”

Read the article in full through the link above.

Michel Says,

“Universal Credit stinks.” he said. “It definitely does not make life better for people. I was depressed all the time when I was on it and didn’t have any money and couldn’t do anything.

The ‘I’ has this story today,

Universal Credit: Seven years after the roll-out of the benefit, the prescription forms for free medication are finally updated

A charity for patients said the updated forms were ‘better late than never’


Written by Andrew Coates

January 25, 2020 at 10:08 am

44 Responses

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  1. It’s official: “From April your Jobseekers Allowance will be £74.35” 😀


    January 25, 2020 at 10:16 am

    • @Unfrozen: Who said the Tories don’t have a sense of humour ? And still people vote for them !

      Jack Frost

      January 25, 2020 at 12:42 pm

    • It’s £73.10 now! Mind you don’t push the boat out too far with that extra £1.25 in your sky rocket!


      January 25, 2020 at 12:50 pm

      • That’ll be wiped out with a council tax increase alone.People just become desensitised to these “incentives” when carried out over the top.


        January 26, 2020 at 4:58 pm

  2. Apparently there’s a new documentary on BBC about Universal Credit and the Welfare State, 3 parts, starting Feb 4th I think:



    January 25, 2020 at 10:21 am

  3. Reblogged this on Tory Britain!.


    January 25, 2020 at 10:23 am

  4. Thanks for that Trev, the one on Panorama in December was good.


    Andrew Coates

    January 25, 2020 at 10:26 am

  5. Apart from the Tories – and not even all of the Tories! – Universal Credit is hated universally, right? Is there anybody, apart from the Conservatives, still bigging up the system these days? I don’t think so.

    Lord Running Clam

    January 25, 2020 at 10:52 am

  6. The Housing Benefit shortfall was deliberate, cut down and kept down, as a further encouragement to get off your benefits. And then they go on about ‘having the rent paid directly to the landlord’ !
    As if this somehow solves everything. But you can’t have all your rent paid directly to the landlord.
    Because whatever is paid will require a hefty top-up each week from your JSA / Universal Credit.
    If people are paying £25 or £30 a week out of their benefit, this is a huge cut. From benefits already cut to the bone. But with the Tories it’s all smoke and mirrors as usual.

    Jeff Smith

    January 25, 2020 at 12:50 pm

  7. LHA was actually meant to cover the rent in most properties. For many years, Housing Benefit covered the full basic rent of an average flat or bedsit. This benefit was uncapped, and it is only in recent years that we have seen LHA reduced to fixed amounts. First at 50% of the average market rent, and currently at 30%.

    Gerald H.

    January 25, 2020 at 1:50 pm

    • The LHA cap and Bedroom tax are down to David Freud.


      January 25, 2020 at 4:07 pm

  8. The Bedroom Tax, also with us, is another awful thing because even if your rent is low, if you happen to have one or more spare bedrooms, you still get you Housing Benefit cut no matter how low rent your accommodation is. The worst of it is that the poor end up punished even if they are willing to move because the LHA cap and Bedroom Tax was brought in without auditing how much small and/or low rent property is available: this means that loads of people either can’t find anywhere affordable to rent or downsize to meaning that hundreds and hundreds of thousands, maybe millions, of renters have to make up shortfalls out of other benefits, just like most do these days with Council Tax contributions, which were not designed to meet such extra costs plunging many into poverty.

    It’s going to get worse before it gets better, if it ever gets better.

    Iain Duncan Smith, David Freud and David Cameron’s government have much to answer for.

    Horselover Fat

    January 25, 2020 at 4:22 pm

    • @Horselover – They knew exactly what the results of all these cuts to LHA, and the Bedroom Tax would mean. In just the same way as they were able to estimate the savings that would occur from these policies.
      This is all seen as motivation of the poor and unemployed. To get into work and off benefits.

      Peter Renwell

      January 26, 2020 at 12:26 pm

      • “into work and off Benefits”

        What work?


        January 26, 2020 at 12:41 pm

      • What work?

        I was talking to a store manager yesterday I know locally and he was saying his wife worked in cardiff 140 miles away.Theres no work locally and employers want GCSE or equivalent applying and are impossible with the hour’s with public transport.Life’s very demanding these day’s and people who recruit want the best with maximum ability special skills’ and all up to date,something someone who’s been signing for some time doesn’t have.Indeed are now asking do you live in the location and nothing mentioned about an hour and a half away.Universal Credit solves none of this.

        Life’s all about education and abilities’ and for those without.If something’s attractive people will buy but people aren’t object’s.


        January 28, 2020 at 8:44 am

  9. Newspaper talk by all involved, nonsense, utter nonsense, none of these media groups are interested, I was lucky to escape with my life, the scum got away with violence against me, threatening me and trying to kill my dog, smashing my house, even smashing the police car when it came out, no one not the housing association, police, community safety groups , social services no one help, the old lady and her family saved me on several occasions, the scum were smashing in my doors, armed, relentless, I got nought, oh I’m a single disabled woman, don’t believe there’s two sides to every story, I was weak, vulnerable and responsible and along with no support the scum who lived above me just ran riot with me. I got punished, harassed by the system, them they just laughed as it was easier to deal with and persecute me in court. Sinful, nothing changes.

    Joan Barrowfield

    January 26, 2020 at 11:59 am

  10. Now that Boris has axed that Victoria Derbyshire crap let’s get rid of the equally appalling Loose Women pish. Come on Boris, let’s get this clean-up of TV done!

    Mary Whitehouse

    January 26, 2020 at 4:11 pm

    • Victoria Derbyshire and Loose Women are still on, luv. Stop twanging and playing with our ding-a-ling-lings.

      Chuck Berry

      January 27, 2020 at 8:34 am

  11. Look what I just found 🙂

    Who’s the major stakeholder of the Corona Virus

    Major Stakeholder – Bill Gates

    Steve Jobs

    January 27, 2020 at 3:11 am

    • Eh? Are you suggesting that Microsoft manufacture the Corona virus? And that Dicky Gates is behind it? Cor bimey! Yet another reason to switch over to open source and uses Linux rather than Windows. Scheiße!

      Woz Wozniak

      January 27, 2020 at 8:32 am

  12. Housing Benefit should pay all the basic rent. Unless someone is living in a mansion or similar.
    But council rent, housing association, reasonable private sector rents, should all be covered by HB.

    Peter Renwell

    January 27, 2020 at 3:10 pm

  13. Single mum takes DWP to High Court after Universal Credit hurled her into childcare debt

    Benefits advisor Nichola Salvato could help up to half a million other parents if she wins her legal fight against up-front childcare payments – saying ‘if I can’t figure my way out of this, how is anyone else going to?’


    Can this government get anything right?


    January 28, 2020 at 8:48 am

    • Andrew Coates

      January 28, 2020 at 12:16 pm

      • @andrew coates – I never did like gammon and potatoes, or roly-poly pudding.

        Jack Frost

        January 28, 2020 at 6:32 pm

  14. What’s it with Poundland still selling festive food at FULL price. The same food that had always been reduced to half price by 27th December. They have sneakily moved the fruit, nut, dates, etc. in amongst the regular products. Do they intend to keep this at full price until it sells or it reaches the sell-by date*? Will they still be selling festive deglet nour dates in June?

    *Home Bargains sell food past it’s sell by date. Always check. Suppliers sell food with short expiry dates at a deep discount.

    The Savvy Shoppers

    January 28, 2020 at 11:22 am

    • **B&M, Home Bargains to do.

      The Savvy Shoppers

      January 28, 2020 at 11:23 am

    • We grabbed a load of deglet nour dates last year for 50p a tub. Lasted us till June. A bargain considering they would have cost 10 times as much in regular supermarket.

      The Money Saving Experts

      January 28, 2020 at 1:22 pm

    • The store has introduced the £2 £5 mixed in with for £1 items and prices have to be kept an eye on.US Duracell batteries are £2.The well received/reviewed £1 USB phone chargers haven’t been on sale for around 18 months’ now and It’s clear they are struggling with the rising costs and worries over the pound as lines reduce,also Wilkinsons are competing on the same £1 price for shoe items.Theres certainly problems in store.

      Universal Credit claimants facing eviction as arrears rocket to ‘unsustainable’ levels

      Three quarters of Hull council tenants on Universal Credit are behind with their rent


      Universal Credit is not dealing with issues that have been around now for a considerable time and ask’s further the future direction question.


      January 28, 2020 at 5:39 pm

    • We know they are not good for you but none of our favourite Coppenrath spiced biscuits left after Xmas. We were expecting to stock up with enough half price packets to take us through the year. Luckily, we suspected something was up and bought a few extra packets before Xmas,

      The Fatties

      January 28, 2020 at 6:12 pm

    • You bet us to it, ken. We bought some toothpaste the other day in Poundland assuming it was £1 but we got stung for £2 at the till. We know that not everything is £1 even though the store is called Poundland but it still came as a shock. Once upon a time you got say 30 of something in a tub for a pound then it was 25, now it is 21. Shocking. As you say,, ken, all signs that there is trouble in store. It was very obvious this Christmas that they were trying to avoid overstocking, And then they won’t even reduce what’s left of the Xmas stock after Xmas.

      The Supershoppers

      January 28, 2020 at 6:20 pm

    • Poundland’s HDMI cables (made by Signal) work brilliantly. Not sure if they are still a pound. There is no need to spend £50 on a HDMI cable in Currys/PC World.

      The Supershoppers

      January 28, 2020 at 6:25 pm

    • The Kodak batteries that Poundland are also excellent. A real bargain for a £1

      The Supershoppers

      January 28, 2020 at 6:27 pm

    • It must be difficult to make a quality USB phone charger for a pound and make a profit on it. A pound for a phone charger?!

      The Supershoppers

      January 28, 2020 at 6:30 pm

      • I see you people have started spending the extra £1.25 benefit increase already. This is what the Tories say, if you give people more benefit they just spend it.

        Charles Moreton

        January 28, 2020 at 6:40 pm

    • When we were in Poundland there was red X on the self-scan tills, We thought they were broke down. One of the assistants came across and turned one on. It seemed strange. I know they get a lot of shoplifters and a lot of times on the till you will see the ‘insert payment of…’ still on the screen. Either that or it was to give us the hard sell on Leibnoff biscuits. Are they really that different to sell a packet of biscuits. Funny, last time we were in this same assistant was shouting “we are here to sell”. So maybe it was just him… who knows…

      The Browns

      January 28, 2020 at 6:38 pm

      • @the browns: Poor devil was probably on some workfare scheme.

        Dave T.

        January 28, 2020 at 6:43 pm

    • If McDonnell was our Chancellor it would have to change it’s name to ThousandPoundLand as our money would be worthless. We would be papering our walls with our money.


      January 28, 2020 at 6:45 pm

  15. Andrew Coates

    January 28, 2020 at 12:21 pm

    • It’s shameful the numbers of people on the street’s,its like a subculture in town centres,homeless have appeared where there were none before and combined with empty retail shops gives an indication of the feeling of overall decine in the UK.


      January 28, 2020 at 5:47 pm

    • Well, they have got plenty of time ahead. Five years in fact…Thanks Jeremy.

      Former Labour

      January 28, 2020 at 6:35 pm

      • @ Former Labour

        “Thanks Jeremy”

        Jeremy Corbyn offered an alternative to austerity, poverty and persecution of the poor. Thanks Electorate, you stabbed us all in the back.


        January 29, 2020 at 3:42 pm

  16. I see that so far only 80 people have been put on the Universal Credit managed migration pilot ? Out of 10,000 ? And of these 80, only 13 are now actually on UC. Jesus, at this rate it will be doomsday before the DWP finish the pilot, never mind the remaining 2 Million. No wonder they have put the end date up to 2024.
    2034 will be more like it at this rate.

    Jeff Smith

    January 28, 2020 at 6:27 pm

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