Welfare reform and housing insecurity: The impact of Universal Credit rollout on demand for rent arrears and homelessness advice from Citizens Advice in England

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract / Description of output

Universal Credit (UC) has been rolling out since 2013 to radically alter the UK welfare system. Several UC design features, and its changes to benefit generosity, can lead to claimants struggling to afford rent payments. This article uses fixed-effects panel modelling to investigate UC’s housing insecurity impacts within English local authorities (2014 Q1 - 2019 Q1) by bringing together official UC data and Citizens Advice ‘advice trends’ data on rent arrears/homelessness issues within the social/private rented sectors. The results suggest UC rollout is associated with increases in rent arrears advice issues (though not homelessness advice issues). This impact tended to be greater when UC had been rolled out for longer (and therefore reached more claimants), and was greatest in the social rented sector where people are more vulnerable to arrears. This highlights a need to increase the level of UC payments and address its long wait periods and harsh sanctions.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1-24
JournalSocial Policy and Society
Early online date6 Jul 2022
DOIs
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 6 Jul 2022

Keywords / Materials (for Non-textual outputs)

  • University Credit
  • welfare reform
  • housing insecurity
  • rent arrears

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