the amount personal insolvencies rose by in the North between January 2000 and December 2011


the unemployment rate of those aged 16-64 in the North compared with 7.8% in England


of Northern households are in fuel poverty compared with 10.4% in all of England


For further information about the work we’re doing on welfare reform and financial inclusion please contact Satty Rai.

Universal Credit, Welfare Reform & Social Exclusion

Supporting financial inclusion has long been key for housing providers and Local Authorities across the North – however, the passing of the Welfare Reform Act 2012 has led to unprecedented changes in the way in which welfare support is delivered.

These changes, coupled with wider economic downturn, means that for the housing sector, financial inclusion is no longer a nice “add on” but an absolute business necessity.

We are working on a range of projects and services to support the housing sector support their communities – more detail on the projects is provided below.

Universal Credit Research

Universal Credit (UC) introduced as part of the changes to the welfare system, is designed to support those out of work or on low incomes and replaces six other Benefits (Job Seekers Allowance, Housing Benefit, Working Tax Credit, Child Tax Credit, Employment and Support Allowance and Income Support).

The Benefit takes the form of a single monthly payment directly to the claimant rather than, in the case of Housing Benefit, to the landlord. UC poses a number of challenges to social housing landlords and their customers. Learning from the Direct Payment pilots and from anecdotal evidence from NHC members has raised a number of areas of concern for housing providers, local authorities and wider partner agencies. As a result, NHC has embarked upon a research project to better understand the issues faced by our Members and their tenants.

Read our Round 1 Report here.

Read our Round 2 Report here.

Read our Round 3 Report here.

Read our Round 4 Report here.

The research brief can be found here. If you would like to be involved in the research, which consists of four questionnaire carried out approximately every three months, please click here.

Living Wage

As part of our work around welfare reform and the impact on poverty and social exclusion, the Northern Housing Consortium (NHC) are working closely with the North East Child Poverty Commission around their campaign on the living wage. NHC agreed to map out across the membership the number of housing providers that have, or are looking to commit to taking the living wage pledge.

Download the living wage briefing here

Tackling Financial Exclusion

Millions of tenants in the UK face financial, digital and social exclusion. One major cause of this is an information gap in their credit history, which can exclude them from affordable credit. They are more likely to be declined or pay a higher price for credit, receive less favourable rates and tariffs or may struggle to prove their identity. In the same way that mortgage payers are recognised for paying their mortgage each month, Northern Housing Consortium, Experian and Big Issue Invest believe that social housing tenants should be recognised for each rental payment they make.

Pre-Arrears Interventions and Collections Mapping

The NHC are supporting a project undertaken by the Money Advice Service (MAS) which offers free unbiased money advice to the UK population, with the objectives to “increase the supply and uptake of debt advice” and “focus on preventative measures to reduce the levels of over-indebtedness”. This particular project began in 2013 with high street bank and building societies. MAS are now broadening this piece of work to non-FCA regulated organisations.