The changes mean almost all tenants now receive their housing benefit instead of it going direct to the private landlord. That is a good principle as it technically empowers tenants but too many are preyed on by loan sharks and other creditors leaving them vulnerable. The result is that landlords are left to carry the can and many are simply refusing to take on housing benefit clients as a result.
I fear for the effect on homelessness if too many good private landlords leave the sector.
We need a more sensitive system that ensures tenants and landlords do not lose out. The minister says councils have the discretion to reintroduce direct payments before the eight week deadline for non payment of rent but a fraction earlier is not sufficient. The trigger period needs to be much, much earlier than that.
I will continue to argue the case with the minister.