The Universal Credit is heading for trouble. The Government's reforms will be the most significant changes to the benefits system in a generation, affecting around eight million households, including some of the most vulnerable in society.
In changing the way that benefits are paid, the policy aims to prepare people for work, boost personal responsibility and strengthen financial resilience. However, this research finds that on current plans, the scheme risks undermining its own goals by taking a sink or swim approach to the challenge.
Based on in-depth interviews and discussion groups with low income families with children, the research shows that the changes – including monthly payment and Housing Benefi t paid to claimants in the social rented sector – will leave many households struggling to cope. That risks imposing costs on third parties and undermining the Government’s policy aims. The report makes new recommendations so that the Universal Credit can be made to work with the grain of Government policy, and to help people to help themselves.