Tory Universal Credit cut will leave 100,000 private renters at risk of eviction

The number of renters relying on benefits in England has surged to around one in three since the start of the pandemic

Around 100,000 renters could be evicted next week when the Tories’ planned Universal Credit cut comes into force, Crisis has warned.

From October the Tories have confirmed the £20-a-week uplift will be ditched, despite calls to keep the measure in place ahead of a “difficult winter”.

The timing of the uplift cut coincides with the final lifting of the emergency restrictions on evictions during the pandemic in England and the end of the furlough scheme on Friday.

But Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland have extended the measures on evictions until next year.

Crisis says around one in three private renters rely on benefits in England, which has surged since the pandemic.

Around 2 million private renters are said to be relying on universal credit or housing benefit

And Crisis analysis of Government statistics reveal the number of private renters relying on UC or housing benefit for rent surged to almost 2 million in May 2021 with 560,000 renters joining benefits queues since February 2020.

Jon Sparkes, the chief executive of Crisis said: “For many struggling renters this cut could be the final blow that forces them from their homes.

“The UK government must change course and keep the £20 uplift so that people don’t needlessly lose their homes this winter and we have a fighting chance at recovery.

“The UK government assured people they would not lose their home because of the crisis; we must not fail them now.”

It comes after shamed Tory ministers launched private talks about raising UC payments.

The Mirror reported that there are “live discussions” inside the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) about c hanging the “taper rate” to let working families keep more money.

A proposal under discussion would see the taper – which is the amount of Universal Credit withdrawn for every pound someone earns – cut from 63p to 60p.

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It would be the first taper change in five years, and would partially cushion the blow of the £20-a-week cut – which kicks into payments between October 13 and November 12.

A government spokesperson said the UC uplift was always temporary and “designed to help people through the toughest stages of the pandemic.”

“Universal credit will continue to provide vital support for those both in and out of work and we will deliver a fairer and more effective rental market that works for both tenants and landlords,” they said, adding the government is spending £750m to tackle homelessness and rough sleeping over 2021-22 and will publish a white paper on renting including the abolition of “no fault” evictions in due course.

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