The impact of Universal Credit rollout on housing security: an analysis of landlord repossession rates in English local authorities

Hardie, I. (2021) The impact of Universal Credit rollout on housing security: an analysis of landlord repossession rates in English local authorities. Journal of Social Policy, 50(2), pp. 225-246. (doi: 10.1017/S0047279420000021)

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Housing allowances within the UK’s welfare system help protect low-income households from eviction. Universal Credit (UC) has faced criticism for threatening this with its long wait periods, increased conditionality and monthly direct payments. However, there is currently a lack of robust, national-level quantitative analysis on UC’s housing security impacts. This article addresses this, exploiting cross-area variation in the timing of UC rollout to assess its impact on landlord repossession rates within 323 English local authorities. A fixed-effects panel design was used, linking data from UC’s rollout schedule with Ministry of Justice data on legal repossession actions from 2012 Q1 - 2019 Q1. Results suggest that UC ‘Full Service’ rollout, on average, led to an increase of 1.74 landlord repossession claims, 1.42 landlord repossession orders and 0.70 landlord repossession warrants within local authorities (per 10,000 rented dwellings). This corresponds to a 4–5 percent increase on pre-rollout rates. UC’s impact tended to increase the longer it had been rolled out. Where ‘Full Service’ had been rolled out for 12+ months, it led to an increase of 2.60 landlord repossession claims, 2.89 landlord repossession orders and 1.09 landlord repossession warrants (per 10,000 rented dwellings), corresponding to a 6–10 percent increase on pre-rollout rates.

Item Type:Articles
Glasgow Author(s) Enlighten ID:Hardie, Dr Iain
Authors: Hardie, I.
College/School:College of Medical Veterinary and Life Sciences > School of Health & Wellbeing > MRC/CSO SPHSU
Journal Name:Journal of Social Policy
Publisher:Cambridge University Press
ISSN (Online):1469-7823
Published Online:27 February 2020
Copyright Holders:Copyright © 2020 The Author
First Published:First published in Journal of Social Policy 50(2): 225-246
Publisher Policy:Reproduced under a Creative Commons licence

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Project CodeAward NoProject NamePrincipal InvestigatorFunder's NameFunder RefLead Dept
303166Scottish Graduate School Science Doctoral Training Partnership (DTP)Mary Beth KneafseyEconomic and Social Research Council (ESRC)ES/P000681/1SS - Academic & Student Administration