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Universal credit and access to justice: applying the law automatically

20 September 2021
This report focuses on some of the problems UC claimants are experiencing both making a claim for UC and receiving accurate payments, which appear to be caused by the digitalisation and automation of the UC system. Claimants who have specific life circumstances are experiencing similar problems because the UC computer system seems unable to calculate their UC payment correctly and in accordance with the law.

A minimum income guarantee in Scotland

14 September 2021
What is a minimum income guarantee? There are numerous models that have been proposed, but the general idea is that everyone should be entitled to a minimum level of income. In Scotland, it has been suggested that this level should be set with reference to a minimum income standard. However, it is often assumed that this guarantee can only be delivered by some kind of means-tested payment to lift incomes up to the threshold, but as we shall see this minimum can actually be achieved in a number of ways.

Importance of the £20 a week Universal Credit increase in mitigating social security losses to families since 2010

06 September 2021
This report presents analysis by CPAG, commissioned by Action for Children, on the importance of the £20 increase in mitigating the damage caused by social security losses over the previous decade for a typical working family.

Fixing Lunch: The case for expanding free school meals

31 August 2021
Free school meal (FSM) provision has been thrust into the media spotlight during the pandemic. But how widespread is FSM coverage? How do parents feel about FSM provision? And what do they think could be done to improve it?

Children can't wait: investing in social security to reduce child poverty in Northern Ireland

26 August 2021
The upcoming Anti-Poverty Strategy is a chance for the Northern Irish Executive to invest in measures that make a difference for children. By setting out an ambitious vision, measurable targets, and by committing to investment in children, the Anti-Poverty Strategy can set us on a path to a future where no child grows up in poverty. This briefing by Save the Children UK and CPAG looks at some of the ways the Executive could achieve this. It examines how changes in social security would lift children out of poverty.

Post-pandemic futures: Social security reimagined

17 August 2021
The Covid-19 pandemic has exposed and exacerbated the shortcomings of the UK’s social security system. As we move out of the pandemic, there is a need to grasp this opportunity to debate and start planning for a new and better social security settlement. In this briefing note, aimed at campaigners, policy makers, and those engaged in anti-poverty work, we argue that this must be an expansive debate that has the expertise of people with experience of poverty and social security at its centre. We reflect on the participatory work of Covid Realities, and on the ambitious and radical proposals for reform developed by its participants.

Universal credit: what needs to change to make it fit for children and families?

21 July 2021
Universal credit (UC) is now the main working-age benefit in the UK. Since its inception, UC has been plagued with administrative issues and budget cuts and, as a result, its early promise to reduce poverty has yet to be realised. When the pandemic hit, swift changes were needed to make UC fit for purpose including an increase in the amount of financial support provided and a relaxation of some of its most punitive rules. However, the vast majority of these positive changes have already been reversed, or are due to be reversed in the coming months.

Post-COVID policy: child poverty, social security and housing

20 July 2021
The coronavirus pandemic has disrupted the life of every child and their family in the country. Families with children have been among the worst affected, with job losses and increased costs of living from repeated lockdowns and school closures, causing many families to struggle financially. The pandemic has made life much harder for low-income households, those already living in insecure housing and at risk of homelessness, and those with precarious immigration status.

Understanding the latest data on the two-child limit

15 July 2021
The data out today shows that, in April 2021, 1.1 million children were affected by the two-child limit – 237,000 more than the previous year.

Falling Through the Net - Briefing 4

22 June 2021
This is the fourth in a series of regular briefings which highlight some of the persistent gaps in support that exist for children and families affected by the COVID-19 pandemic. Evidence of these gaps is drawn from our Early Warning System (EWS) which collects case studies from frontline practitioners working directly with families on the problems they are seeing with the social security system.