HUNDREDS of tenants in Grimsby have been issued pre-emptive notices of eviction over fears the roll-out of universal credit will be delayed.
Grimsby-based GAP Property, which manages 350 properties, wrote warning tenants it “cannot sustain arrears at the potential levels” the Government’s flagship welfare reforms could create.
The move effectively sees tenants denied the normal two months notice, before an eviction can be undertaken.
UC will be rolled out to more than 13,000 people on benefits in Great Grimsby, from December 13.
The company said the notice would only be exercised if the tenant fell into arrears, adding: “The letter is not intended to cause you alarm, rather to inform you of the problems that could very well occur during the roll-out of UC.”
The letter was raised at Prime Minster’s Questions today by Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn, who renewed calls for UC to be paused.
He asked: “Does the Prime Minister think it is right to put thousands of families through Christmas in the trauma of knowing they are about to be evicted because they are in rent arrears because of Universal Credit?”
UC should see new claimants get their first payment within six weeks, but in areas where it has been piloted payments have been delayed, causing one in three to fall in arrears.
Mrs May acknowledged concerns over the welfare reforms, including about people managing their budgets to pay rent.
She said: “What we see is after four months the number of people on Universal Credit in arrears has fallen by a third. Now it’s important we do look at the issues on this particular case. (Mr Corbyn) might like to send the letter through.
“I know in an earlier PMQs he raised a specific case of an individual who had written to him about her experience on Universal Credit - I think it was Georgina.
“As far as I’m aware, he has so far not sent that letter to me despite the fact I asked for it.”
Great Grimsby MP Melanie Onn, who passed the letter to the Labour leader after complaints from tenants, said people in pilot areas had been left waiting up to 13 weeks for payments.
She said: “Now these eviction notices are even clearer evidence that the universal credit roll-out will push more people into debt, evictions and homelessness.
“The Government must press pause on universal credit until they can sure people will receive their money on time.”
No one was available to comment from GAP Property.