Rent arrears blamed on roll-out of Universal Credit

Motherwell and Wishaw MSP Clare Adamson
Motherwell and Wishaw MSP Clare Adamson

Motherwell and Wishaw MSP Clare Adamson has called on North Lanarkshire Council to show more understanding to council tenants facing arrears due to the roll-out of Universal Credit by the UK Government.

This comes following last month’s National Audit Office report which concluded that issues with the roll-out of Universal Credit have caused financial hardship for claimants.

Ms Adamson said: “A number of constituents have contacted me after receiving eviction threats from North Lanarkshire Council due to arrears accrued through no fault of their own; even where they have explained their situation to the council.

“I have asked that the council shows some understanding to my constituents who are facing these circumstances, some of whom may have not received any benefit payments for up to eight weeks.

“It is unforgivable that the UK government has put people in this situation and for the local council to then add to that stress by issuing threatening letters regarding arrears could well make an extremely upsetting situation even worse.”

Councillor Allan Graham, convener of the Enterprise and Housing Committee, responded: “We have a dedicated ‘income maximisation’ team in place to support tenants on Universal Credit with a specific focus on prevention measures and early intervention, such as carrying out financial assessments to identify any financial entitlements.

“In addition, we provide a range of services to customers who are struggling with Universal Credit, including debt advice, tenancy support services other financial support and grants where appropriate.”