A nine-month review of the welfare programme has found that it faces significant design issues and needs serious reform.
A new, and most thorough, expert review has found that universal credit faces significant design problems and will need a serious reform if it is able to meet its original goal of making work pay for many claimants, reports the Guardian.
The review has been conducted by Resolution Foundation and chaired by welfare expert Nicholas Timmins. It concluded that for some groups, especially women, universal credit could make reducing the number of hours worked more attractive.
The report states: “Multiple changes to UC since its conception – some policy-related, some reflecting a lower than originally anticipated budget – have altered both its design and expected impact.” It suggests it would take as much as £3bn to restore the planned UC taper – the rate at which UC is withdrawn as earnings rise – to the level at which tax credits were withdrawn.
“Improvements necessary to enable UC to, at a minimum, make work pay and smooth the transition into work must be made before millions of families are moved on to the new system,” it adds.
“The proposed large-scale extension of conditionality to the working population on low incomes is completely untried and untested, with little international evidence to support its design. And even if – after much development, which is only now starting at a small scale with simple JSA-equivalent cases – it proves effective at stopping people working too few hours, it makes no attempt to encourage or help people move beyond minimum wage jobs. In our view, a different approach is required.”
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