Sunday, 30 April 2017

DWP holds back data on direct payment pilots

The Department for Work and Pensions has insisted tenants are ready to manage their own money but is not yet releasing data from its direct payment pilot projects.

Six pilot projects are running across the country to test the direct payment of benefit to tenants instead of landlords.

The projects, which run until next summer, feature housing associations and councils and test direct payment to around 12,000 tenants.

The DWP has strongly discouraged social landlords from mentioning the results of the projects and said it would publish initial findings at the end of October.

But instead of publishing data showing the progress of the projects it today released results from a survey of 1,639 of the tenants who were selected to take part in the projects. The survey was carried out before the projects started in June.

The survey showed three in 10 tenants thought they would cope poorly with direct payments while only 54 per cent said they would be able to manage. Nine in 10 said they had a bank or building society account.

Lord Freud, minister for welfare reform, said: ‘These findings show most people on low incomes manage their money well and for most tenants the switch to universal credit will be straightforward.’

A DWP spokesperson said data will be published next year.

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