Rent collections adjusted to help Universal Credit claimants

Rotherham Town Hall
Rotherham Town Hall

Rent collection dates have been changed in Rotherham next year to try to ease the burden on tenants struggling to cope with the transfer onto new Universal Credit from traditional benefits.

If the system had been left unchanged, there would have been 53 collection days in the year, because there are that number of Mondays due to the way the calendar falls.

However, the authority’s ruling Cabinet has agreed to a change to 52 collection dates in an attempt to help those who will be getting UC payments, which have proved controversial.

The Government has also announced that the roll-out of UC will be slower than originally intended, but the process is to continue.

Where Universal Credit has been introduced, rent arrears have been seen to increase because claimants have struggled to budget under the constraints of the new system.

*Council house rents in Rotherham will be reduced by one per cent next year, members of the authority’s Cabinet have also confirmed, in line with directions set out by the Government.

But councillors were told the one per cent reductions, which have now been in place for four years, will end after the 2019/20 financial year, giving the council the option to increase rents in the years ahead.

That could mean a hike in charges of the consumer price index inflation rate, with another one per cent on top, the Cabinet was told.

Next year’s reduction applies only to homes, however, with buildings such as garages rented out by the council facing an increase in line with CPI, which was 2.4 per cent when the calculations were made.