Living standards
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Universal Credit
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Childcare
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Scotland
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Welfare

A welcome boost for ‘just about managing’ families in Scotland

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Yesterday started with a bleak assessment by the Child Poverty Action Group of the impact of ongoing welfare cuts – specifically how the two-child limit on support, which began to be implemented in 2017, is set to push 300,000 children into poverty. But there was better news for Scottish parents later in the day, as … Continued

Universal Credit
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Welfare

Boosting benefit take-up is critical to the success of Universal Credit, but we might not be able to measure whether it’s working

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Benefit take-up rates matter. A lot. If households aren’t actually receiving the benefits that government policy entitles them to, their incomes will be lower and the social safety net will not work as intended. The government’s own estimates of benefits take-up suggest that billions of pounds worth of benefits probably go unclaimed each year. Take-up … Continued

Universal Credit
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Welfare

Delaying rollout of Universal Credit is a sensible step – but fundamental reforms are still needed

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Today we learnt that the government is preparing a package of measures for Universal Credit (UC) ahead of the upcoming Budget – but what are they changing and what difference might it make? The first thing to understand is that these changes aren’t about the fundamentals of either the generosity or operation of Universal Credit … Continued

Torsten Bell
Universal Credit
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Welfare

Universal Credit: the honesty we owe and the changes we need

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All is not well in the land of Universal Credit (UC). Cabinet ministers are angsting in private about the challenges of rolling out this government’s single biggest domestic policy reform. Two ex-Prime Ministers are worrying in public that the benefit risks becoming a new poll tax. And Labour has (rhetorically at least) promised to scrap … Continued

Universal Credit
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Welfare

The roll out of Universal Credit will lead to a postcode lottery of winners and losers

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On welfare reform, something is moving in the undergrowth. It’s called Universal Credit. The new benefit will amount to £53 billion by 2020-21, with almost half of families with children entitled to it.  Only the State Pension will be bigger. Implementing this mammoth policy is the key task facing the new Secretary of State for … Continued

Matthew Whittaker
Living standards
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Universal Credit
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Tax
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Welfare

The new financial year: No fireworks yet but is pain brewing for low-to-middle income households?

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Prior to the government’s tax credit U-turn in last year’s Autumn Statement, 6 April 2016 was set to be a red letter day – representing the point at which more than 3 million tax credit recipient families would face the reality of reductions in their annual awards of £1,300 on average. Having shelved the cuts … Continued

Torsten Bell
Universal Credit
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Welfare

Universal Credit’s future depends on whether it’s the economics or the politics that comes first for the Treasury

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Incentives matter. That was one of the central assumptions behind the creation of Universal Credit. As well as creating a simpler benefits system (a good thing in and of itself), the purpose of the new benefit is to drive up employment by providing a clearer financial incentive to enter and progress in work. But incentives … Continued

Universal Credit
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Inequality & poverty
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Welfare

Could Universal Credit hold the key to reducing child poverty?

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We discovered this morning that the proportion of children living in relative poverty is at its lowest level since the 1980s. Great news of course, but this headline masks a much more complicated – and worrying – picture. Falls in this headline poverty measure – which captures those children living in households with incomes less … Continued

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