Document Abstract

How can Universal Credit help parents move out of poverty?

Presents the results of research into how Universal Credit (UC) could be changed to reduce poverty among working parents. Draws on interviews with working parents on UC and Jobcentre Plus Work Coaches to inform the study. Explains the background to the introduction of UC and some of the problems that have been encountered in its rollout. Discusses the standard of living among UC claimants finding that many struggle to manage monthly, as opposed to weekly, UC payments and to deal with the uncertainty of variable payments. Looks at the barriers to increasing income highlighting that many claimants did not feel that working more hours would increase their income due to tapering of their benefits. Highlights the lack of knowledge some claimants had about the benefits they were entitled to such as free childcare and free school meals. Outlines the mixed views of Work Coaches with some suggesting the UC system was simpler for claimants to navigate while others felt it had negatively affected claimants. Suggests reforms including: increasing the amount of income that working parents derive from UC; providing greater incentives to increase working hours; reducing the financial and administrative burden of childcare; and giving Work Coaches more time and training to support parents.


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Bush, Lucy; Templer, Max; Allen, Katharine
Ref No:
Joseph Rowntree Foundation (JRF)

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