Universal Credit
Inequality & poverty

Five takeaways from new living standards data


The annual release of DWP’s Households Below Average Income (HBAI) figures is far less timely than other economic indicators and, as it is based on survey data, it is noisy. Yet, together with the ONS’s separate income survey data (expected later in Spring), it provides key insights into how living standards have changed for different … Continued

Mums hold the key to getting Britain working again

Boosting workforce participation in the 2020s


Britain has built up a lot of economic problems over the past 15 years – weak investment and productivity growth, contributing to an unprecedented pay squeeze and stagnating living standards. But there has been one metric at which we have excelled – getting more people into work. Sadly this success story has been undone somewhat since the … Continued

Social care

Social Care Roundtable


In 2021-22, more than one-in-ten frontline care jobs in England were vacant, up from fewer than one-in-twenty in 2012-13, with 68 per cent of current care workers saying they work under a high degree of tension. The Resolution Foundation has been exploring different aspects of the problems in the care sector, to identify what can … Continued

System collision

The interaction of Universal Credit and Child Benefit withdrawal is creating a mess


If there is anyone out there still harbouring the quaint idea that it’s the super-rich who face the highest marginal tax rates in the land, they should think again. There are various contenders for that dubious prize but we can now announce a clear winner: the small but fast-growing group of families receiving Universal Credit … Continued

A cut to benefits would batter millions of households

Liz Truss’s threats of a real-terms cut would ramp up inequality and hamper growth


The chancellor’s mini-budget has spooked the markets, stoked a rise in interest rates, and now caused a full-blown and very public cabinet row over whether to cut benefits for millions of working-age families. Some ministers are urging the prime minister to press ahead with the cut and end Britain’s “Benefit Street culture”, while others have spoken out … Continued

Boris Johnson is wrong to downplay the impact on families from the Universal Credit cut

Rising inflation and surging energy bills come as the government takes £20 a week off families in the Universal Credit cut


Today was a big deal for Boris Johnson who delivered his speech to the Conservative Party Conference. But it’s an even bigger day for low-and-middle income households across Britain, for all the wrong reasons. As the PM stepped up onto stage, their income took a step down with Universal Credit cut by £20 a week. … Continued


The UK should not weaken safety nets mid-storm

As more workers are laid-off this autumn, the grim reality of meagre support will become clear


Resisting pressure to spend more on disadvantaged groups is seen as part of the job by battle-hardened officials in the UK Treasury. But stripping away benefit increases that have only just been introduced is rather different and doing so in the midst of an economic collapse would, to put it mildly, be something extraordinary. Yet … Continued

Key take-aways from the Chancellor’s package of measures to support workers in the coronavirus crisis


The Chancellor’s announcements on Friday 20 March were unprecedented in their scale and reach, and absolutely vital for supporting firms and family incomes in the face of the current crisis. Here are five key take-aways on how these changes will affect families, and three next steps for the Government to consider.   1. At a … Continued

The child poverty crisis needs pushing up the agenda in Britain’s ‘Brexit’ election

None of the main party manifestos will end child poverty


Both the main parties have learnt lessons from the 2017 election. The Conservatives have learnt not to scare the horses with big new policies. Their 2019 manifesto is very much a ‘safety-first’ document. Labour learnt that they have a problem with pensioners – 70-year olds are twice as likely to vote Tory as Labour – … Continued

CB40: Happy 40th birthday to child benefit! But will it last another twenty?


Yesterday, the minimum wage celebrated its 20th birthday. Today, child benefit is having a 40th birthday bash. But, as this analysis shows, it’s become a somewhat modest affair, with (record) low generosity, fewer people invited than in earlier years, and particularly complicated arrangements. So today is a good time to step back and take stock … Continued

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


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: the honesty we owe and the changes we need


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

Matthew Whittaker

Now’s not the time for auto-pilot


Straightforward policy successes are a rare achievement in government and need celebrating when they arrive, lest we forget that policy matters. The recent sizeable gains the UK has made on private pension saving as a result of the introduction of auto-enrolment are therefore a clear cause for cheer. But challenges remain, starting with the increase … Continued

Baby boomers are going to have to pay more tax on their wealth to fund health and social care


In the past decade a new issue has entered British politics – fairness between the generations. It straddles the conventional political divide. The Prime Minister has spoken of “a growing divide between a more prosperous older generation and a struggling younger generation”. And the leader of the Labour Party has argued that future generations should … Continued

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