Freud claims Universal Credit problems are not as bad as has been reported – FAKE NEWS?

Lord Freud said: ‘Waiting days do not help in the introduction of universal credit.’ [Image: Getty].

Lord Freud admitted that problems with Universal Credit are causing low-income claimants to fall into arrears with their rent – but said the problem was not as severe as claimed and that research showed the number in arrears fell, the longer they were on Universal Credit.

The trouble with his claims is, he was quoting research by the Department for Work and Pensions, which is the government office behind Universal Credit and which is charged with making it look good – or, at least, acceptable.

Fake news? Alternative facts?

The former welfare minister Lord Freud has admitted to MPs that administrative problems and design issues with universal credit are causing around one in four low-income tenants to run up rent arrears, putting them at risk of eviction.

Freud, who has overseen the development of universal credit over the past six years, also suggested that the long formal waiting times faced by claimants before they receive a first payment when they move on to the new benefit should be shortened.

However, Freud, who stepped down from the government in December, said the arrears problem was not as severe as claimed by councils and housing associations, who have reported that typically 85% of tenants on universal credit are behind with the rent.

Asked what he would change about universal credit, Freud said some thought a 42-day wait was too long and suggested that a component of that wait, a seven-day benefit waiting period introduced by the Treasury in 2013, should be dropped. “Waiting days do not help in the introduction of universal credit.”

Freud told MPs that most of the tenants cited by housing associations were in arrears before they moved on to universal credit. He said Department of Work and Pensions’ (DWP) own research suggested that the prevalence of rent arrears among universal credit tenants declined after three months on the new system.

The DWP research he referred to was published over a year ago and referred to a phone survey of 1,800 benefit claimants conducted between November 2014 and March 2015. It shows that the percentage of the 900 universal credit claimants surveyed who said they were in rent arrears fell from 48% to 33% after three months.

Source: Universal credit issues driving tenants into debt, ex-minister admits | Society | The Guardian

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5 thoughts on “Freud claims Universal Credit problems are not as bad as has been reported – FAKE NEWS?

  1. Martin

    How could any sane person, even a Tory, think that people without savings, back pay or other assets forced to apply for Universal Credit could do anything but fall into rent arrears and/or debt when denied assistance for months at a time? Croyden reports that benefit claimants face an average wait of THREE MONTHS – a season! – before receiving Universal Credit entitlements.

    What kind of social security is that? Where the poorest and most desperate and only the poorest and most desperate are driven into debt and rent arrears because of Universal Credit by design?

    Freud’s legacy is absolute and utter national disgrace.

  2. Jon

    I think the fact that Freud talks in percentages is very revealing. He seems to be as oblivious and innumerate as George Osborne, completely oblivious of the fact that what he is talking about are enormous numbers of men and women, not nuts and bolts, and that even a very small percentage represents a very large number of human lives desolated and ruined by his cancerous meddling.

    Even if rent arrears caused by Universal Credit fell 15% that still means that thousands – THOUSANDS! – of people have been plunged into arrears by Universal Credit. If Universal Credit had been implemented as is HUNDREDS OF THOUSANDS IF NOT MILLIONS OF INNOCENT PEOPLE would have been cast into rent arrears and debt because of Universal Credit.

    I have nothing but contempt for Freud but the way he talks in percentages rather than about lives does hint at why he has made such a catastrophe of Universal Credit and why it must be changed out of all recognition or abandoned.

  3. Dez

    Freud read Fraud….gullible mouth piece for incompetence and lies. Waiting days read cash flow savings and frustration for customers. Would not give the Dwp survey the honour of being used as toilet paper probably cherry picked data and as untrustworthy as the rest of the political poo and lies that they turn out. Fake News is absolutely the correct description.

  4. jayne macey

    This idiot wants to try UC as his means of income, then say the problems no as bad he won’t be able to live on £200 a month and pay all his bills etc

Comments are closed.