IEA Conversations

Universal Credit: Good idea, badly implemented?

April 18, 2019

Universal Credit has been dubbed one of the most radical changes to the British welfare system since the Beveridge Report, which proposed widespread reforms to the social welfare system, to tackle what he identified as five "Giant Evils" in society: squalor, ignorance, want, idleness, and disease. 

Since Beveridge, the welfare system has continued to morph; since World War II, we’ve added child benefits, housing benefit, tax credits… I could go on, the list kept growing. Many have argued that this has created a new series of problems – mainly that many people have been deterred from taking jobs, fearing that they would, in fact, end worse off than they were on benefits. A system designed to help people out of poverty has arguably become a poverty trap.

But given that the Trussell Trust is concerned about links between Universal Credit, financial hardship, and food bank use, is it time to scrap Universal Credit? Or does the programme have the right ideas, suffering from poor implementation?

Joining the IEA's Digital Manager Darren Grimes to discuss is the IEA’s economics fellow Julian Jessop and Patrick Spencer from the Centre for Social Justice - the think tank which can claim to be the brains behind the thinking behind Universal Credit!

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