New data has revealed that new housing benefit applicants in Havering are having to wait almost three weeks for their claims to be processed. Last year, new claimants waited on average 19 days for their application to be completed.

Waiting time for applicants can be a very worrying time, with families fearful of notices of eviction if the application isn’t processed quick enough.

The government is currently rolling out Universal Credit across the country, in total there are 14,181 housing benefit claimants in Havering. If claimants are currently waiting almost three weeks for applications to be processed, their waiting time could lengthen to 10-12 weeks once universal credit is introduced in Havering. Universal Credit, which replaces six benefits with a single monthly payment, can leave some claimants waiting six to 12 weeks for their cash.

Jon Cruddas MP said: “Benefit claimants are facing a New Year hell as Universal Credit rolls out in Barking, Dagenham and Havering. This grotesque system pays out benefits a minimum of six weeks in arrears - in some cases 12.

“That’s two or three months without cash for thousands of families, plunging residents into abject poverty.”

“Payday loans companies must be rubbing their hands in glee. I am urging the Government to halt this madness now.”