Direct payment pilot landlords revealed
The Department for Work and Pensions has announced the names of social landlords taking part in direct payment pilot projects.
The government plans to pay benefit direct to social housing tenants in order to encourage people to take responsibility for their finances. The proposal has concerned landlords, who fear arrears may rise, potentially hitting their credit ratings.
Year-long pilot projects, which will test how direct payment can work while protecting income, will take place from June 2012 involving five partnerships of councils and housing associations.
These are :
- Southwark Council and Family Mosaic in London
- Oxford Council and Greensquare Group in southern England
- Shropshire Council, Bromford Group, Sanctuary Housing Group and the Wrekin Housing Society in the west midlands
- Wakefield Council and Wakefield and District Housing in northern England
- Torfaen Council, Bron Afon Community Housing and Charter Housing, in Wales
The projects will test different trigger points for switching payment to landlords if the tenant falls into arrears.
They will also look at how to provide help to tenants with budgeting and at the provision of support for tenants facing financial difficulties.
Lord David Freud, welfare reform minister, said: ‘Direct monthly benefits payments are a key part of universal credit, allowing claimants to prepare for the financial responsibilities they will face when in work and to encourage them to move away from often costly weekly and fortnightly budgeting.’
DWP statistics published this week revealed there were 4.9 million housing benefit claimants in Britain in October 2011, a year-on-year increase of 132,430.