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Ministers confirm: refuge places to be paid through existing arrangements, not Universal Credit

Following concerns raised by Women's Aid, Refuge and a number of other national charities, Ministers have confirmed that housing costs for refuges and supported housing will be funded and delivered through existing arrangements, rather than through Universal Credit.

The clarification, which was provided by Lord Freud at a Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) Select Committee on 17th September, follows a DWP consultation on the regulations for the implementation of Universal Credit. A number of national charities responded to the consultation, expressing concerns that refuge rents would be administered less frequently, leading to cash flow problems and the possible closure of refuges across the country.

However sector organisations are still concerned that a decision has not been made about whether women living in refuges would be exempt from the government's new household benefit cap. The cap, which will be administered from April 2013, limits total benefit income to a maximum of £500 per week per single parent.

Tracy Blackwell, Head of Development at Refuge said: “Because of the nature of the support they provide, the rent for a refuge place is often quite expensive. Any woman with three or more children may be affected by this new cap, meaning that they may not be able to afford to flee to a refuge if they experience domestic abuse. This may result in women receiving less support and refuges becoming financially unviable.”

FIND OUT MORE

Listen to the DWP Select Committee here.

Read Women's Aid's response to Ministerial announcement here.

This article was taken from www.caada.org.uk – http://www.caada.org.uk/news/caada-enews-Sep2012-universal-credit.html