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A UC sink hole – the minimum income floor returns

30 July 2021
Last October, Money Saving Expert founder Martin Lewis tweeted a warning about the ‘huge sink hole awaiting many self-employed’ people when the suspension of universal credit’s minimum income floor ended. While the government extended the suspension, it now ends this week. Self-employed workers up and down the country will start to be affected (with some possible concessions) after 31 July, and may face huge financial difficulties as a result.   

Universal credit and work: the reality

21 July 2021
In attempting to justify the unjustifiable, namely the cut to universal credit that is due in October, secretary of state for work and pensions Thérèse Coffey said the government was: ‘shift[ing] the focus strongly on to getting people into work.’ But this is a cut that will affect millions of working families. The government has subjected our social security system to so many cuts and freezes that families desperately needed the £20 increase and it must stay, but universal credit’s very design still makes it hard for parents to escape poverty through work.

Does the cap fit? Researching the benefit cap’s effect on paid work

30 March 2021
Official statistics released today show that the number of households subject to the benefit cap has increased again. 180,000 households were capped in November 2020, up from 170,000 in August 2020.

Women in the pandemic: experiences from Covid Realities

08 March 2021
This time last year the odds were already stacked against women. Women are more likely to be in insecure, low paid employment; women are more likely to be in poverty; and women carry out more unpaid work than men. It seemed certain the pandemic would make inequality more pronounced. But how have things panned out? Twelve months later we want to share the experiences of low-income women who are part of the Covid Realities project.

Security and solidarity in our social security system

21 January 2021
The social security system is there for all of us. The pandemic has exposed how precarious our incomes are and how much we all need a social security system that prevents poverty, provides income security and promotes social solidarity. Whether or not we are out of work, in ‘insecure’ work, or have recently lost jobs, our current system is falling short on all fronts, but it can change.

Mind the Gaps: Social security during the pandemic

21 August 2020
We have seen a significant government response to the financial hit many have faced because of the coronavirus – from the job retention scheme and self-employed income support scheme to the increase in universal credit (UC) and tax credits. While many families will have benefited from the stability and certainty these welcome interventions have given them, they have not been comprehensive. We are always most worried about the people who fall through the gaps.

Unemployment support post Covid: learning from the job retention scheme

13 May 2020
Yesterday, the Chancellor announced that the job retention scheme will continue until October. This will be a huge relief to the 7.5 million workers who rely on support from the scheme, and will avert a huge second surge in unemployment as a result of the crisis, which is already set to rise to it’s highest level for 25 years. This extension is welcome, but there is no reason why more generous unemployment benefits couldn’t exist in the UK permanently.

Families hit harder because nothing for children in Covid-19 response

12 May 2020
Covid-19 has clearly had a massive impact on household incomes in the UK. Millions of people have lost their job and millions more have been furloughed. It will take a while to understand the complete effect of Covid on household incomes but some initial quantitative findings can help shed light on the effect of the pandemic on families.

Mind the gaps – reporting on families’ incomes during the pandemic

09 April 2020
The government has taken some giant leaps in recent weeks to help those affected by the coronavirus pandemic. We have seen the announcement of the Jobs Retention Scheme, support for self-employed people, and increases to certain benefits. But there is still more to be done.

Is food the right response to child hunger?

13 January 2020
A Mori poll for the Trussell Trust, published on 16 October in the Daily Mirror, showed more than half the British public think food banks are an embarrassment to this country and 7 in 10 think they should not exist in a modern society. They think it’s the government’s responsibility to deal with it. They are right. More people than ever, 21%, say ‘poverty and inequality’ is the most important issue facing Britain - the highest rate since 1997.