Our project has submitted written evidence to the UN Special Rapporteur on on extreme poverty and human rights, Professor Philip Alston. Professor Alston will undertake an official visit to the UK from 6 to 16 November 2018 at the invitation of the government. His visit will focus, in accordance with his mandate, on the interlinkages between poverty and the realisation of human rights in the United Kingdom.
In our evidence, Project Director Professor Peter Dwyer, University of York; Dr Lisa Scullion, University of Salford, and Dr Sharon Wright, University of Glasgow, write on behalf of our project on the erosion of economic and social rights as a core component of national citizenship status and justifications for such rights on the basis of universal human needs. Based on our final findings, they detail how benefit sanctions leave many unable to meet their basic needs, with those sanctioned increasingly reliant on charitable and (where available) familial provision for support.
Read our evidence in full.
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’.
Our project gave evidence to the Commons Work & Pensions Committee inquiry into benefit sanctions.
Key points in evidence included: Read More
Our project gave evidence the the Commons Work and Pensions Committee’s inquiry into the rollout of Universal Credit. We told the committee of reports from our interviewees including: frequent financial hardship both in and out of work (one in-work claimant had to use a foodbank), poverty, unmanageable debt, rent arrears and eviction. We found that the long waiting period for an initial payment to be processed (5-6 weeks) in combination with payment delays meant many claimants did not have sufficient income for basic necessities.
Our recommendations include: Read More
The Welfare Conditionality Project gave evidence to a session of the National Assembly for Wales’ Equality, Local Government and Communities committee, held in Cardiff. The committee is inquiring into ‘Poverty in Wales: making the economy work for people on low incomes’, and wanted to hear more about welfare benefits, sanctions and Universal Credit. The project’s Dr Lisa Scullion from the University of Salford, and Dr Sharon Wright, from the University of Glasgow, gave evidence in person. Watch the televised session. Our written evidence was also submitted.
The WelCond project submitted evidence to the Commons Public Accounts Committee for its hearing on the National Audit Office’s report on benefit sanctions. Read our evidence
Our project gave evidence in March 2016 to the SSAC’s consultation on the important issue of decision making and mandatory reconsideration in the welfare benefits system, which has now reported. A number of respondents in our study who had been sanctioned and took action to initiate mandatory reconsideration or appeal found the process complex, time-consuming, lengthy and costly. Because of these factors the majority did not pursue a mandatory reconsideration or appeal.
Read our evidence to the SSAC consultation
Read the SSAC report
Our project gave evidence to the Commons Work and Pensions Committee’s inquiry in January. We argue that for those in work, UC is intended to increase labour market attachment. However, our research has found that in practice, conditionality can be counterproductive – undermining work incentives and opportunities rather than reinforcing them. Claimants were disadvantaged by a lack of support to balance the requirements placed on them. Read More
Project director Professor Peter Dwyer discussed welfare and conditionality with parliamentarians and other policy influencers at an All Party Parliamentary Group in July 2015. The APPG for Social Science and Policy heard presentations on welfare benefits reform and its effects. Read our ESRC Evidence briefing prepared for the meeting and Professor Dwyer’s short presentation.
Welfare Conditionality: Sanctions, Support and Behaviour Change project leader Professor Peter Dwyer gave evidence to the Work and Pensions Select Committee in January 2015.