Issue - meetings
Welfare Reform Update
Meeting: 16/07/2019 - Cabinet (Item 36)
As detailed in the recommendation, plus an additional recommendation of:
(2) That the Council write to the Minister highlighting the learning, and problems, experienced as a pilot location for Universal Credit.
Councillor Hughes introduced the report which provided an update on the impacts that Universal Credit ‘Full Service’ and other welfare reforms were having on Flintshire residents and the work that was ongoing to mitigate and support those households.
Details were provided on the existing welfare reforms of: removal of the spare room subsidy, benefit cap, universal credit and the welfare reform impact in Flintshire.
Councillor Thomas commented that Universal Credit was costing the UK Government more than any other legacy benefit but people were receiving less benefits. She also commented on the fluctuation in Universal Credit received which was not helpful and said she felt it should be reversed. Members concurred with the views of Councillor Thomas.
Councillor Bithell asked how the 546 Flintshire Council House tenants in receipt of Universal Credit and who were in rent arrears (approximately £567,000) could get out of that situation. He also asked what could be done to ensure eligible pensioners were receiving Pension Credit where it was applicable. The Benefits Manager said that the service was aware of all of the issues, such as rent arrears, and explained that as Flintshire was a pilot area for Universal Credit, the impacts had been more pronounced at an early stage when compared with other areas. The Welfare Response Team would continue to provide personal budgeting support to support residents. On pensioners, the team continued to be proactive and more eligible pensioners were now claiming Pension Credit.
Following a suggestion from Councillor Thomas, it was agreed that the Council would write to the Minister highlighting the learning, and problems, experienced as a pilot location for Universal Credit.
(a) That the report and the ongoing work to manage the impacts that Welfare Reforms has and will continue to have upon Flintshire’s most vulnerable households be supported; and
(b) That the Council write to the Minister highlighting the learning, and problems, experienced as a pilot location for Universal Credit.