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Universal credit: a new era?

11 January 2019
Universal credit needs fixing. That’s certainly not the first time we’ve said that, but today the new Secretary of State for Work and Pensions Amber Rudd MP seemed to agree. At a Jobcentre in south London we got our first glimpse of what changes she has planned to make the benefit work better for everyone. Meanwhile, a couple of miles away the High Court announced that we had won our universal credit assessment period case. What do these two things mean for people claiming universal credit?

2018: the year in review

19 December 2018
The United Nations special rapporteur on extreme poverty and human rights, Professor Philip Alston, completed his 10 day visit in November by concluding that the UK's high child poverty rate was “not just a disgrace, but a social calamity and an economic disaster, all rolled into one”.

Lessons from the welfare reform summit

11 December 2018
Welfare reform and its effects have rarely been out of the news in the past few years – and rightly so. But the focus of coverage is often on political arguments taking place at Westminster. It’s vital we hear from those directly affected by the changes to social security, and from those who work with and support them.

The problem with good will

10 December 2018
In our Christmas appeal this year we mentioned Helen*, who we met at our food bank project in Tower Hamlets. Our advice helped Helen and her family get the financial support they needed. But we shouldn’t have met Helen in those circumstances.

UN Rapporteur’s report a ‘wake-up call’ on UK poverty

19 November 2018
When the United Nations Special Rapporteur on extreme poverty and human rights, Professor Philip Alston, completed his 10 day visit to the UK on 16 November, he found that the poverty he had observed was unjust and, in his opinion, contrary to British values.

UN Special Rapporteur arrives to assess extreme poverty in UK

05 November 2018
Today the UN Special Rapporteur on extreme poverty arrives in the UK for a twelve-day visit. This is an interesting time to arrive in the UK to investigate human rights for those living in extreme poverty.

An unfair start in the UK

02 November 2018
Social mobility is often promoted as a solution to perceived inequities in society. Specifically, it is often positioned by politicians as the solution to child poverty – as evidenced by the Social Mobility Commission, which started life as the Child Poverty and Social Mobility Commission but through various iterations has seen ‘child poverty’ removed from its remit entirely.

What does the Budget mean for universal credit (and how much will families benefit - or not)?

30 October 2018
In yesterday’s Budget the Chancellor waited till the last minute to announce new money being put into universal credit (UC). That’s a sign of the political importance this issue now has, and tells us that years of campaigning are starting to cut through.

Rising child poverty and rising concern

25 October 2018
The number of children living in poverty in the UK is now at 4.1 million and will reach over 5 million by 2021, according to the Institute for Fiscal Studies. And children who are in poverty are now living, on average, further below the poverty line than they did 10 years ago.

Universal credit: who gains, who loses, and how does transitional protection really work?

12 October 2018
There is a lot of discussion in the media this week about the immediate and long-term impact of Universal Credit (UC), whether people will be better or worse off, and whether the ‘losers’ will have their incomes protected when they first move over to UC. This blog seeks to clarify the story.