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01 October 2018

CHC responds to DWP funding announcement for Universal Support

The UK Government has this morning announced that the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) will fund Citizens Advice to provide Universal Support from April 2019.

Universal Support is designed to help tenants prepare for Universal Credit by offering digital literacy and budgeting advice, to assist with the transfer to a digital system and single monthly payment.

Housing associations have a close relationship with Citizens Advice, working in partnership to support tenants facing problems caused by Universal Credit.

We welcome today’s announcement, however, some housing associations in Wales provide Universal Support to their tenants and, where this is the case, take up of support is high. We believe Universal Support funding should be commissioned openly to allow housing associations to access funding where they would be best placed to support their tenants.

Earlier this year, we collaborated with The National Housing Federation, the Scottish Federation of Housing Associations, and the Northern Irish Federation of Housing Associations to call on the UK Government to change fundamental flaws with Universal Credit.

Will Atkinson, Policy & Programmes Manager, said: “Claiming Universal Credit can be daunting for many people who may have no experience of using a computer or budgeting on a monthly basis. It’s important Universal Support is accessible to claimants when they need it. Where housing associations in Wales are currently delivering Universal Support, it has proved very effective, due to the existing good relationship between landlord and tenant. We believe the opportunity to deliver the service should be available to all housing associations, where appropriate.”