‘Welfare reform’ and means-tested benefits in the UK
What is it about?
The UK is implementing a major reform to means-tested benefits for people of working age. The new Universal Credit will affect around eight million households by replacing six existing means-tested benefits and tax credits with a single benefit. It will be paid to people both in and out of paid work. This paper summarizes the changes and argues that there is a gap between the assumptions underpinning the design and the research evidence about life on a low income, either out of work or in low-waged and often insecure employment.
Why is it important?
Millions of people will be affected by the changes to the UK’s means-tested benefits system, when the new Universal Credit is introduced, and applied to all working-age people, both in and out of work. It is essential to understand how this major change will work in practice. This is also of interest to policy discussions in many other countries, facing similar issues of in-work poverty and work incentives.
The following have contributed to this page: Professor Jane Millar and Ms Fran Bennett
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