The runner-up prize went to Shahina Fatima Begum, customer insight officer at Peabody, for her paper People, Processes and Payments: Learning from the Experiences of Universal Credit Claimants that are in Rent Arrears.
Capital Cities: How the Planning System Creates Housing Shortages and Drives Wealth Inequality
The housing shortage in our cities, the North-South divide, and rising wealth inequality are three of the greatest challenges facing Britain today. Public debate has until now thought about these problems as separate. This paper uses mortgage lending data at the postcode level from 2013-18 to reveal the connections between all three, and show how political choices are deepening these inequalities.
People, Processes and Payments: Learning from the Experiences of Universal Credit Claimants that are in Rent Arrears
Universal Credit (UC) was the biggest ever change to the welfare system. With around 14% of UC claimants living in London (DWP, 2019), it is important to understand how it affects their diverse lives.
UC claimants are more than twice as likely to be in debt compared to all other tenants (NHF, 2018). The aim of this small-scale study was to better understand what impact UC is having on the lives of tenants of a large London HA, focusing specifically on tenants that have experienced rent arrears. Using qualitative research methodology, this report examined the experiences of UC claimants through semi-structured interviews. It not only explores personal experience of individuals regarding this sensitive topic, but also allows for a local perspective of a nationally debated topic.
This paper finds the overall picture is more nuanced than the polarised public debate. Although many claimants are coping and adapting to UC, it comes at a cost and there is a detrimental impact on the lives of claimants, particularly those with physical and mental health issues, as well as those who have been/are long-term unemployed and have digital illiteracy. The impact of UC very much depends individual skills and experiences of claimants and further support is needed to develop these as part of the process.