Tenants moving onto Universal Credit are to get an extra two weeks of rent support as payments go monthly.
The DWP has confirmed that a fortnight’s worth of housing benefit will continue to be paid to “ease the transition”.
It’s a response that acknowledges requests from partner agencies.
Work and pensions secretary, Esther McVey, said the extra help – worth around £550m – reflects the “big change” of moving onto UC.
“So this week, extra rent support is being made available to allow people to adjust from fortnightly housing benefit payments to monthly Universal Credit ones,” said McVey.
In the face of increasing controversy over the implementation of UC, The DWP has already u-turned on cutting housing benefit for 18 to 21-year-olds.
Earlier this week the government was warned of an even harder backlash against welfare ‘reform’ as millions of claimants now moving on to UC realise the extent of income cuts.
That warning came from a senior government welfare adviser and coincided with calls for a new Beveridge Report to rebuild social welfare beyond punitive government plans.
Paul Gray, chair of the independent social security advisory committee, acknowledged simplification of the welfare system was right – but building in significant budget cuts would become an issue once claimants realised how much they would lose.
To Gray, there is a significant challenge is the “serious numbers” of claimants receiving tax credits migrating to UC.
Figures from the Resolution Foundation alone suggest UC will leave over three million working families worse off – with an average loss of £48 a week.
About 600,000 of those who lose out, mainly couples with children, will no longer be entitled to help at all.