Citizens Advice Scotland has today published evidence showing that demand for advice on rent arrears increased by 47% between 2012 - 2017.
The new CAS report, which considers the causes and consequences of this rise, finds that changes to the social security system have been one of the key drivers of the problem, in particular Universal Credit.
The report notes that the increase covers the period in which Universal Credit has been rolled out, and presents a number of case examples which illustrate the typical links between the two.
CAS spokesman Rob Gowans says,
“The rise in rent arrears is one of the most worrying trends we see across the CAB network at the moment. While there are a number of factors driving this, we have no doubt that the flaws in Universal Credit are one of the main ones.
“For the past 18 months we have been calling for a halt and fix to Universal Credit. Some welcome changes have been made but many of the problems still remain and this report shows the impact these are having on peoples’ lives.
"We have set out again today the key flaws that need to be addressed, including reducing the waiting period before payment, cutting out processing delays and reducing deductions. These are relatively simple changes that could make a huge difference to millions of people."
“In our report we also set out other causes of rent arrears, such as rent increases, low wages and lack of support for those in need. All of these need to be addressed as well as Universal Credit, and we will continue to work to highlight these problems and help find solutions."
The Rent Arrears – causes and consequences report is here.