Universal Credit: Design matters

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Extract from a recent blog post by DSPI's Fran Bennett and Jane Millar (University of Bath):

"Barely a day goes by when Universal Credit is not in the news. Ex-prime ministers write critical comments. Parliamentary committees publish reports about its impact. Social media carries accounts by those affected (for example, ‘Universal Credit Sufferer’ Alan Tiffin).

But many commentators focus on delivery, including IT problems, payment delays, administrative errors and the staggered rollout. Others emphasise the cuts imposed since Universal Credit was originally devised, meaning it is now less generous than the old system. As the Resolution Foundation notes, the 2018 Budget provides some welcome changes, but the freeze on benefits for working-age people remains in place.

These are of course crucial issues. However, as we set out in our article in Social Policy and Society, the almost unanimous agreement with the twin principles of simplification and work incentives underlying Universal Credit tends to leave unexamined questions about its fundamental design. These are what we investigate in our article."

Read the full post over on the Social Policy blog, first online on 29 November 2018.