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Today in politics: Cladding, finance, education and Universal Credit

Today we talk about MHCLG’s cladding inquiry, new figures showing tenants are using overdrafts to cover their rent, a new education programme on how to rent and evidence presented to the Lords’ Universal Credit inquiry.

Cladding inquiry

An inquiry to review progress in removing potentially dangerous cladding from high-rise and high-risk buildings, and the adequacy of funding by the Government has been launched by the MHCLG select committee.

The inquiry will examine the scale of issues facing residents in buildings due to combustible cladding. It will also look at the quality and effectiveness of government support for the removal of all form of dangerous cladding from existing buildings, in particular the pace of remediation.

The Committee will shortly publish a survey seeking evidence from affected residents.

One in 10 rely on overdrafts to pay the rent

Price comparison site CompareTheMarket is claiming that one in 10 tenants rely on overdrafts to cover the rent.

The site’s research found two-fifths use their overdraft for emergency funding and nearly a quarter use them to cover the cost of everyday bills.

It also discovered one in 10 use them to cover rent, with a similar proportion using overdrafts to cover mortgages.

More than 100,000 join rent education programme

More than 100,000 current or aspiring tenants have signed up to an education programme explaining how the rental sector works, run by Zoopla.

Its so-called Zooploma programme has so far signed 186,000 individuals.

The rental Zooploma is delivered over a five week period, during which subscribers will receive a series of 19 easy to digest emails.

Among the practical guides offered by the rental Zooploma emails are a beginner’s guide to renting costs, ways to secure a property, using agents, understanding rental contracts and the Deposit Protection Service, and space-saving tips once you have moved in.

Lords listen to evidence in Universal Credit inquiry

The House of Lords Economic Affairs Committee has held an oral evidence session as part of its inquiry into the economics of Universal Credit.

Notable comments in this evidence session included:

Garry Lemon, Director of Policy at the Trussell Trust, who said the Government often focuses too much on getting people back to work when they consider Universal Credit, rather than alleviating policy. 

This negatively impacts on groups who find getting work more difficult, such as people with disabilities. 

He also noted that food banks are used overwhelmingly by those who should be supported by UC.

Iain Porter, Manager of Social Security Policy at the Joseph Rowntree Foundation, said that substantial changes are needed in order to make UC effective. 

He called for more funding for work allowances and the child element of UC and that the five-week wait should be closed, rather than bridged with a payment advance. 

He also noted that UC only works if income doesn’t fluctuate amongst claimants, which often it does.

Dr Matthew Sowemimo, Head of Public Affairs at the Salvation Army, said that the Government was not building enough social homes for rent, leading to people being unable to afford their rent in private rented housing with housing benefit. 

He also noted that 22% of disabled claimants are £1,000 worse off a year under UC than they were under legacy benefits.

To read the full transcript click here.


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