Social Housing Landlords Call on DWP to Provide Better Information on Welfare Reform
Published by SFHA for Scottish Federation Of Housing Associations in Housing and also in Central Government, Universal Credit
The Scottish social housing sector has called on the Department of Work and Pensions (DWP) to provide clear and adequate information to assist those who will be most impacted by the forthcoming welfare reforms.
Speaking at a welfare reform conference on Monday 26th November, Dr Mary Taylor, Chief Executive of the Scottish Federation of Housing Associations (SFHA) summarised the views of conference delegates in saying:
“Housing associations and other social landlords are on the front line working with people who will be most impacted by the UK Government’s welfare reforms. Yet so far the DWP has provided insufficient information to support housing staff to prepare for the changes and deliver vital information to their tenants.
“We are calling on the DWP to ensure that information is delivered to people affected in a clear and timely manner. The DWP needs to either communicate the changes to the public with immediate effect, or slow the implementation down to give the housing sector adequate time to prepare.”
The call for significantly improved information from the DWP was overwhelmingly backed by conference participants, who represented the housing sector throughout Scotland.
Alison Dowling, Project Coordinator, Blantyre and South Lanarkshire Credit Union Ltd, who was attending the event said:
"If social landlords are being tasked with implementing welfare reforms, one of the tools they need is an information campaign that will communicate the key messages around the reforms.
"Landlords and financial service partners need to be free to concentrate their time on implementation and mitigation, in order to minimise the health and economic impacts."
Speaking at the conference, Minister for Housing and Welfare, Margaret Burgess MSP and Scottish Government Deputy Director for Housing Services and Regeneration, Ann Nelson, both stated that there was a limited amount that the Scottish Government could do to fund an information campaign and that responsibility lay with the DWP.
The conference is jointly promoted by the SFHA, the Association of Local Authority Chief Housing Officers, CIH Scotland, and TPAS Scotland and supported by the Scottish Government, and focusses on the challenges facing the Scottish affordable housing sector.
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- The Scottish social housing sector’s conference on welfare reform, entitled Rising to the Challenge is taking place on Monday 26th November at the Grand Central Hotel in Glasgow.
- The SFHA was established in 1976 and has around 170 members providing affordable housing and wider community services in Scotland, as well as a further 200 commercial members. The SFHA is owned by its membership and exists to support the work of housing associations and co-operatives in Scotland by providing services, advice and good practice guidance.
- The SFHA is the voice of the principal builders and managers of new affordable housing for rent in Scotland. Housing Associations own and manage around 40% of the country’s affordable rented housing stock, over a quarter of a million homes across Scotland
- Housing associations and co-operatives are not-for-profit bodies regulated by the Scottish Housing Regulator.