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

Next steps to support family incomes in the face of the coronavirus crisis

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The Government has set out an unprecedented package of support for family incomes, including paying 80 per cent of the wages of employees who currently have no work, via its Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme. Delivering that scheme should be the top priority, given its crucial role in preventing a very steep rise in unemployment and … Continued

Doing what it takes

Protecting firms and families from the economic impact of coronavirus

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The coronavirus health crisis is now a full-blown economic crisis, and one that may last for much more than a few months. Firms will go bust and unemployment will rise. The majority of this economic damage will be driven not by the direct impact of coronavirus itself, but by the necessary measures – such as social distancing – that we put in place to respond to it.

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.

Living standards
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Welfare
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Political parties and elections

Still just about managing? Pre-election briefing on the main political parties’ welfare policies

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Our pre-election series of briefing notes have so far centred on the main parties’ approaches to deficit reduction and to tax. To complete the fiscal ‘set’ we must also consider their take on welfare. This note explores future welfare challenges for an incoming government and examines the extent to which the differing party commitments might … Continued

You’re hired! Lessons for President Trump from a comparison of living standards and inequality in the US and the UK

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This report sets out how, despite moving in step politically of late, the US and the UK economies have had somewhat different economic experiences since the financial crisis. The most notable divergence is on employment – the issue that President Trump put at the front and centre of his economic pitch to voters. As the … Continued

Under New Management: options for supporting ‘just managing’ families at the Autumn Statement

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The new Prime Minister has been very clear in her determination to put the interests of ‘just managing’ families at the heart of her government, but she has inherited tax and benefit plans which are set to lower incomes for many in the group over the remainder of the parliament. With post-EU referendum revisions to projections for … Continued

A Budget for workers? The impact of the Summer Budget on work incentives in Universal Credit

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The combination of increases in the minimum wage (via the introduction of a National Living Wage), cuts to income tax and sharp reductions in working-age welfare presented in the Summer Budget produces a complex mix of winners and losers. Those not currently in receipt of benefits and tax credits (or Universal Credit) are likely to … Continued

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

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