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Universal Credit forces nearly 430 people into rent arrears in Aberdeenshire

Monday April 15th 2019 at 7:08 AM

Almost all of the people in Aberdeenshire who claim Universal Credit have been forced into rent arrears after moving to the new system.

Nearly 450 households are behind on rent – by an average of £900 – and all but 19 of them were in the black before the controversial benefits system was introduced.

It’s been around six months since Universal Credit was rolled out across the North-east, with critics warning it puts people at greater risk of homelessness, ill-health and hunger.

Aberdeen Cyrenian’s Lynda Reid-Fowler said: “People transitioning over are having to wait five-to-six weeks before the new Universal Credit claims are coming in.

“That’s a long time to wait without any form of income for people – it’s starting having an impact on rent arrears and just poverty in general.

“It’s not being made clear to people that the first payment is different. ‘That’ll be all of your payment and you’re responsible to pay your landlord.’

“That’s starting on the wrong foot for a lot of people. They don’t understand that’s happening, they’ve spent their money on various bills – maybe put extra into electric or gas and actually they’re now short and can’t pay for rent straight away.

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