Sally Denton, our Senior Solicitor, was invited onto BBC Radio Nottingham’s Breakfast Show on Thursday 19th October 2017 to talk about Universal Credit.

Universal Credit is a new benefit for working-age people which will replace a number of existing benefits. You can find out more about Universal Credit here but, in brief, the benefit has proved to be controversial.

Nottingham City Council has confirmed that there are currently around 2,700 people in Nottingham in receipt of Universal Credit, but the Council echoes concerns about the roll-out of the benefit. Rocketing levels of rent arrears and debt have been observed due to the six weeks it takes for the first payment to be received.

Sally confirmed that this is an all too familiar story from the  Housing Possession Court Duty Scheme, where Nottingham Law Centre advisers have come across people facing possession proceedings because of problems with their Universal Credit. Sally explained that this is particularly worrying when you consider that the benefit is currently only available to those in the simplest of circumstances.

Sally accepts that in theory the benefit makes sense but that it isn’t working in its current form; Sally has met some people who have had to wait 13 weeks for their first payment. As Sally goes on to explain, for non-Council tenants there is a mandatory ground for possession if people owe more than 2-months’ worth of arrears, meaning people are being left at a very real risk of homelessness.

You can listen to the discussion here. Skip to 1:06:40 for the start of the article.