Many will be worse off under Universal Credit

Last week’s welfare reform white paper included the following graph, claiming to show that “many households will receive more under Universal Credit than under the current system”; at first viewing, the graph does appear to show small weekly gains for those in lower income deciles, and insignificant losses for those higher up the income distribution. But all is not as it seems.

Simplification, sanctions and cuts won’t create jobs

Over the last few days the coalition has been keen to sell Universal Credit as the answer to all the labour market’s problems. After the deepest recession in decades, they are confident they can reduce worklessness by 300,000 jobs (a ‘conservative’ estimate), reduce child and working age poverty, reduce working-age welfare expenditure by £18 billion and make everyone in work better off, simply by reforming the welfare system.

Cable is wrong: Working families will be worse off after tax credit changes

While recent announcements have led to increases in the child element, they have also led to significant cuts in the basic element, 30 hour element and childcare elements as well increasing the rate at which tax credit awards fall in relation to rising household incomes. In contrast to the business secretary’s claim, the reality for many working families (particularly those with childcare costs) is therefore that the total impact of these changes means they will receive far less now than they would do if current policy remained in place.