Drawing on evidence from our WelCond project, the first major independent study of benefit sanctions, support, and behaviour change, Sharon Wright, Sarah Johnsen, and Lisa Scullion write that not only do sanctions not help move people into work, they also have a detrimental effect on their lives. This is because sanctions push recipients further into poverty and cause significant distress in the process, with potentially life-changing negative results. This post first appeared on the LSE Politics & Policy Blog. Read the full text.
Our researchers from the University of Glasgow have called for greater social security powers to be devolved to Scotland to end the punitive UK sanction regime.
In Scotland, newly devolved social security legislation is based on the principles of ‘dignity, fairness and respect’, with employment services being needs based and voluntary without sanctions. However, the findings of our new report launched today show that, with many social security powers still reserved to Westminster, it means an ineffective UK system of conditionality and sanctions is causing profound suffering to people in Scotland.
The public seem to be unaware of the poor evidence underpinning in-work conditionality, write Jo Abbas and this project’s Katy Jones in a new article for in LSE Politics and Policy blog. But research suggests that this policy is unfair and ineffective, and so once Universal Credit is rolled out, it could face resistance both from claimants and the wider public.
The article is reproduced here.
See also our evidence to the Commons Work and Pensions Committee inquiry into in-work progression under Universal Credit, given in February 2016.
All are welcome to this free event which launches the final findings of our project, and considers what they mean for social security in Scotland. The details are:
Thursday 13 September 2018, 9:30am–12:00
The Orangebox Gallery, The Lighthouse, 11 Mitchell Lane, Glasgow G1 3NU Read More
Our new short video featuring Dr Sharon Wright from the University of Glasgow explains the gender dimension in Universal Credit and other welfare benefits illuminated through our research.
And lone parents also face barriers in the welfare system. Professor Sarah Johnsen from Heriot-Watt University explains how benefit sanctions undermine lone parents’ efforts to find work – and what needs to change.
Read our research findings
The government has announced that it is proposing not to implement at this time the provisions in the Housing and Planning Act 2016 to make fixed-term tenancies mandatory for local authorities. This was one of the recommendations in our final findings on social housing, published in May.
In this short video, recorded before the announcement, Dr Beth Watts from Heriot-Watt University explains the evidence from our study.
This report written by WelCond team members Dr Beth Watts and Professor Suzanne Fitzpatrick from Heriot-Watt University details the findings of two bespoke online surveys circulated to local authorities and housing associations in partnership with the Housing Quality Network, exploring how (if at all) they are currently using FTTs, their motives and rationales for these decisions, and the impacts of this form of tenancy on social landlords and tenants. Read in full
A new paper by WelCond team members highlights the way conditionality operating at three levels (the EU supra-national level, the UK national level and in migrants’ mundane ‘street level’ encounters with social security administrators) comes together to restrict and have a negative impact on the social rights of EU migrants living in the UK. WelCond Director Professor Peter Dwyer from the University of York, Drs Lisa Scullion and Katy Jones from the University of Salford and Dr Alasdair B R Stewart from the University of Glasgow drew on evidence from our five-year WelCond project in their paper. The impact of conditionality on the welfare rights of EU migrants in the UK is available free, in open access.
Watch our video explainer about this work. Read our final findings paper on migrants in the UK.
Presentations from our international conference titled Welfare conditionality: principles, practices and perspectives, 26-28 June 2018, are now available on our conference page.
The presentations include plenaries from Professor Rik Van Berkel, from the Utrecht School of Governance, Netherlands, on ‘From policy to practice: a street-level perspective of welfare-to-work,’ and Professor of Social Policy at the University of Bath Jane Millar on ‘Women, work and welfare: how does conditionality change choice?’ Read the presentations.
Our project gave evidence to the Commons Public Accounts Committee inquiry into Universal Credit, following the recent National Audit Office report.
Our evidence, drawn from our final research findings, said that benefit sanctions in Universal Credit are damaging and can be counterproductive. They are ineffective in enabling people to find paid employment, our researchers told the committee. For respondents in our study, ‘paid employment was more of a moving target than a destination’.
In addition, the researchers criticised the conditionality applied to people already in work, saying this was illogical and damaging – and in-work progression was absent.
The project is calling for urgent reform of benefit sanctions and reconsideration of the application of in-work conditionality.
Read the full submission.