Universal Credit
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Welfare

Rates of change

The impact of a below-inflation uprating on working-age benefits

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NB – this briefing has been updated following the publication of the ONS prices data for September 2023.   The CPI inflation figure for September (6.7 per cent) is the basis on which key working-age benefits are normally uprated in the following April. But with the public finances under real pressure, and prices expected to … Continued

Universal Credit
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Childcare
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Welfare

Inconsistent Incentives

How the overlap between Universal Credit and the High Income Child Benefit Charge limits work incentives

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It is well known that some groups in the UK face high effective tax rates, but the most punitive rates of personal tax arise in a situation that has been almost completely overlooked. Families with an earner on £50,000 to £60,000, whose Child Benefit is withdrawn and who are also eligible for Universal Credit (UC), … Continued

Universal Credit
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Welfare

The Long Squeeze

Benefit uprating policy for April 2023

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To offset the impact of tax cuts on the public finances, the Government is considering how it might cut spending. One option that has been discussed is the possibility of raising some benefits in line with earnings rather than inflation next April. This paper explores what this might entail, the potential savings and impacts, and … Continued

Back on target

Analysis of the Government’s additional cost of living support

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The Chancellor yesterday announced a big and well-targeted package of energy bill support. Of the £15 billion of new measures, almost double that announced earlier in the year, twice as much will go to households in the bottom half of the income distribution as the top half. This fills the gaping hole left by the … Continued

Universal Credit
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Living standards
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Welfare

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

Universal Credit
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Welfare
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Intergenerational Centre

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

Universal Credit
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Covid-19
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Welfare

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

Universal Credit
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Household debt
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Welfare

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

Universal Credit
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Welfare

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

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