To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, if she will amend universal credit regulations to allow for the housing cost element for renters to be calculated for a 53-week year in 2019-20; and if she will make a statement.
3 December 2018
Universal Credit is calculated and paid on monthly cycles to reflect the fact that the vast majority of people receive their wages monthly. Many social landlords still expect their tenants to pay rent on a weekly basis, a practice based upon a time when both wages and benefits were paid weekly. The effect of this is that, roughly every six years, there will be 53 payment days in a twelve-month period with the result that, over the cycle, the average social sector tenant will receive approximately 35p a week less towards their rent. A key principle of Universal Credit is that it simplifies the benefit system for working age claimants and re-assessing housing costs to reflect the number of rent payments in any particular year would be complicated and lead to confusion. As such, the Department has no plans to amend these regulations.