West Lothian tenants are in rent arrears during the Covid-19 pandemic
More than half of South Livingston’s tenants, and a similar number in Armadale and Blackridge are behind with their rent, as the effects of universal credit and the pressure from Covid-19 continue to weigh on household finances.
And rent arrears in the county are as high as £ 3million.
Rent collection in the two neighborhoods, as revealed to local committees last week, remains excellent at over 99%.
But the number of small debt cases in Livingston-Sud with £ 300 or less represents 51% of households. There are 80 cases of serious arrears (+ £ 1000 in arrears). These cases are 19.3% of all households in arrears in this area, containing 66.5% of the debt. Livingston South’s arrears situation in the last quarter of the year was £ 280,062. This is an increase of £ 21,569 from last year’s position.
In Armadale and Blackridge, figures show small cases of debt (£ 300 or less), accounting for 54.4% of households. There are 82 cases of serious arrears (+ £ 1000 in arrears). These cases are 16.3% of all households in arrears in this area, containing 57.5% of the debt. Armadale and Blackridge’s arrears situation was £ 268,774. This is an increase of £ 11,737 from last year’s position.
In West Lothian the level of arrears is £ 2,978,530.
In this report to the Armadale and Blackridge Committee, Lorraine Donnelly, local housing manager, said: “The overall increase in arrears over last year is a result of the introduction of full-service universal credit in West Lothian at from May 2018, with other social services. Benefit from reforms and the current economic climate. In the same week of last year, Armadale and Blackridge wards had 298 Universal Credit (UC) households. Since then, the number of UC households has decreased by 10.1%. “
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