Taper cut

Analysis of the Autumn Budget changes to Universal Credit

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This briefing note looks at the changes to Universal Credit (UC) – the main benefit for low-income families – made by the Chancellor in the Autumn 2021 Budget. The reduction in the taper rate from 63 to 55 percent, and increase in the work allowance by £500 a year, represent a significant, permanent increase in … Continued

The big squeeze

Assessing the changes to family incomes over the next six months

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This winter will see a major income squeeze – and it will be focused on low-to-middle income households. High inflation, especially higher energy bills, will strain many families’ finances. But these pressures will be compounded for over 4 million families when £20 a week is cut from Universal Credit in October 2021. Looking forward, April … Continued

To govern is to choose

The choices facing the Chancellor this autumn

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The Chancellor has not had a quiet introduction to national policy making: overseeing 17 major fiscal announcements in as many months. This summer provided the first lull, driven by the success of vaccines and the understandable focus on Afghanistan. But the quiet phase is coming to an end. Alongside dealing with whatever new paths the … Continued

Age-old or new-age?

The changing incidence of social security benefits by age

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At the start of the Covid-19 crisis, the number of families receiving income from the benefits system increased significantly, with 1.3 million more families receiving Universal Credit within three months – reversing a trend of a steady decline in families receiving benefits. In this briefing note, we examine the shift in the numbers of families … Continued

Half-measures

The Chancellor’s options for Universal Credit in the Budget

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The Government has still to decide on whether to continue the £20 per week uplift to Universal Credit (UC) and Working Tax Credit (WTC), due to expire in just 45 days. There are suggestions the Chancellor will opt for a halfway house of keeping the uplift for six months. Compared to the pencilled-in default of … Continued

The debts that divide us

Flash findings from a survey of families claiming Universal Credit

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The surge in claims for Universal Credit (UC) when the pandemic first hit means that UC caseloads are now about twice as high as they were pre-pandemic, with over half of all single parents now in receipt of UC.  About 60 per cent of the current caseload have newly-claimed UC during 2020, and the fraction … Continued

Safe harbour?

Six key welfare policy decisions to navigate this winter

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Despite the new Job Support Scheme, unemployment is set to rise substantially through the autumn and winter, as the Job Retention Scheme ends and the hospitality sector adjusts to new restrictions. This means many more individuals will soon be dependent on the social security system; and as the economy moves into the next phase of … Continued

Death by £1000 cuts?

The history, economics and politics of cutting benefits for millions of households next April

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The first Conservative Conference of a new parliament begins. It comes on the back of a surprisingly emphatic election win, but with rumblings beginning about the Chancellor’s plan to take £1,000 away from millions of low-income households in just six months’ time. At that conference it is George Osborne, not Rishi Sunak, that gets up … Continued

No work, no pay

Supporting unemployed people through coronavirus

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This recession is a labour market recession, with the public health response to coronavirus swiftly shutting down employment-heavy sectors of the economy. Although the Government has rightly committed billions of pounds to support employers, encourage retention and bail out the self-employed, it is inevitable that unemployment will rise. For those who lose their job or … Continued

Social care
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Universal Credit
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Fiscal policy
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Welfare
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Political parties and elections

The shifting shape of social security

Charting the changing size and shape of the British welfare system

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Voters face a stark choice in the 2019 election about the social security system they want. This report examines how the provision of social security in Britain has changed; the big trends that current social security policy needs to take account of; and the policy offer from our three main political parties.

A fraying net

The role of a state safety net in supporting young people develop and transition to an independent, healthy future

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This report reviews the state-provided financial safety net available to young adults, and how it has changed over time. It finds that young people have always relied more on benefits than working-age adults. But this gap has narrowed over recent decades, as governments have increasingly deprioritised welfare support for young people.

Back in Credit?

Universal Credit after Budget 2018

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This briefing note focuses on the implications of recent changes to Universal Credit – in particular the £1,000 increase in work allowances announced in Budget 2018 – for the number of winners and losers from the switch to this new benefit system, for its generosity and for its impact on work incentives.

Irregular Payments: Assessing the breadth and depth of month to month earnings volatility

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This research addresses the question of earnings volatility, unearthing striking findings about the lived experience of work – and the pay we receive for it – in the UK today. This report makes use of anonymised transaction data from over seven million Lloyds Banking Group (LBG) accounts in order to demonstrate the breadth and depth of changes in pay from month to month.

Credit where it’s due? Assessing the benefits and risks of Universal Credit

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The government’s plans for Universal Credit (UC) were first set out in November 2010, and its concept has received broad cross-party support. But the process of implementation has been dogged by a series of delays – the OBR now anticipates that it will not be fully rolled out until at least 2020, potentially 3 years … Continued

All work and no pay: Second earners’ work incentives and childcare costs under Universal Credit

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A part-time cleaner with two children in childcare and working 25 hours a week would be £7 a week worse off than if she didn’t work at all while a part-time teacher with the same hours and childcare arrangements would be £57 a week better off under the Government’s new proposals to help working families … Continued

Childcare support and the hours trap: the Universal Credit

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The Government recently announced the terms under which childcare costs will be supported as part of Universal Credit from 2013. It has made an extra £300m available, compared to present spending levels. This briefing updates the earlier briefing Childcare support and the hours trap, published in May 2011, to show the impact of the government’s … Continued

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