A snapshot of the affects of the Tory Government's so-called 'welfare reforms' shows the full horror of what's about to hit Salford's poorest sections of the community.
A report on the latest developments in the Pendleton Together project, to be discussed by Salford City Council today, has a section on 'Income Collection' which makes scary reading and hints at the benefit timebomb that's about to hit the rest of the city.
In Pendleton 28 families in social housing are claiming Universal Credit and six are affected by the benefit cap. Out of those 34 households the report states that "only one customer is making complete rent payments".
Universal Credit puts all benefits into one lump sum, and it can be six weeks before the first payment is made, putting people into debt before they have even started receiving anything.
Meanwhile, in Pendleton, the report shows that tenant arrears, at 28th February this year, stood at £267,714, while former tenant arrears totalled £306,347. It gives the figures for arrears at 31st January, of which over £180,000 was people falling behind six months or less with the rent; while the total amount that tenants fell more than six months behind was over £82,000.
The report adds that "Pendleton Together have advised that the main reasons for arrears cases relate to; low income, Bedroom Tax, benefit cap, other debts, transition of benefits, substance dependency and domestic abuse where there is a financial element to the abuse..".
Back in 2012 the Salford Star obtained an internal Salford Council report detailing the possible effects of future Government welfare cuts. It stated there would be "increased indebtedness; increased arrears of rent and Council Tax; increased use of high interest lenders and loan sharks; increased homelessness presentations and homes at risk of possession; fewer people with contents insurance; fewer people with savings; higher levels of depression and mental health problems" (see here).
This latest snapshot of what's going down in Pendleton certainly shows how the horrors have come to pass. And underlines research quoted in the city's anti-poverty strategy by Salford's Financial Inclusion Practitioners Group and the University of Salford which showed that "rent arrears across all housing providers is on the increase with the implementation of Universal Credit seen as a key driver as people on the lowest incomes are expected to budget over a monthly period".
Beneath the nice, shiny refurbishment of Pendleton, a Tory Government inspired nightmare is being played out...
See also previous related Salford Star articles...
Pendleton Rents To Go Up As Extortionate PFI Payments Criticised - click here
Pendleton Gentrification Slammed By UID - click here
Salford Housing Lead Member Wins Affordable Housing Hypocrisy Award - click here