Sink or Swim? The impact of the Universal Credit

Stephen Timms MP, Shadow Minister for Employment
Department for Work and Pensions speaker (tbc)
Tom Clark, Leader writer, The Guardian
Nigel Keohane, Deputy Director, Social Market Foundation
Ian Mulheirn, Director, SMF

The Universal Credit constitutes the biggest reform to the benefit system in a generation, affecting around 8 million households. The reforms will change dramatically how households receive their benefit payments: monthly payments will take the place of weekly and fortnightly benefits; social tenants will have to manage their rental payments; and a new monthly fixed assessment will have consequences for those losing work.

This new SMF research is the first independent analysis of the potential impact of these reforms on low income families. Drawing on in-depth qualitative fieldwork, the research analyses the impact the reforms will have on the budgeting and financial resilience of low income households, and assesses how different families are likely to respond. The research concludes that behavioural insights will have to be applied if the Government’s objectives ‘to boost personal responsibility and financial resilience’ are to be achieved rather than undermined.