In a topical blog on the welfare benefit system, researcher Ruth Patrick examines the flawed assumptions behind policies intended to incentivise benefit recipients to take up paid work. She offers five ways in which the current system either does not help or is actively counterproductive – and calls for a rethink. Read her blog
Posts Tagged ‘welfare benefits’
In a brief radio appearance recently, I was involved in a discussion about the role of welfare conditionality in today’s welfare state. One of the participants defended conditionality’s role, citing what he described as a wealth of evidence that suggests that conditionality does work in supporting transitions from ‘welfare’ into ‘work’. I responded emphasising the punitive edge that conditionality brings to encounters at the Job Centre or in employment ‘support’ provision, and how this can harm relationships between claimants and their advisers. But that was all I had time to say.
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.
We welcome proposals for papers from those working within and beyond the social sciences on any aspects of welfare conditionality and associated debates
Welfare Conditionality Project researcher Dr Jenny McNeill has co-authored one of the Journal of Poverty and Social Justice’s ‘top five’ most read articles of 2016. In a new blog she summarises the main issues. In contrast to long-standing caricatures of scroungers and skivers, she argues, our research shows the real hardships faced by many claiming welfare benefits. That includes people who are stigmatised, sanctioned and struggling to get by, turning to foodbanks, to other sources of support, and to ‘survival crime’. Read the blog here
Welfare Conditionality Project researcher Dr Jenny McNeill has co-authored one of the Journal of Poverty and Social Justice’s ‘top five’ most read articles of 2016. Here she summarises the main issues
Media and government are fixated on the pervasiveness of so-called ‘scroungers’: people cheating the benefits system for welfare they are not entitled to, or those who do not properly take steps to end their dependency on benefits. In 2012, the then-Employment Minister Chris Grayling defended the use of benefit sanctions on the basis that they provide ‘a real deterrent for some people who are either not trying or who are gaming the system’.
Policy makers have also denied structural reasons in favour of emphasising people’s behaviours in explanations for the causes of poverty, unemployment, and social marginalisation. They have thus endorsed a need to ‘nudge’ targeted individuals to reduce welfare dependency. This heightened sense of panic over welfare abuse has in recent decades been called ‘scroungerphobia,’ but fears over the poor subverting the foundations of state or charitable support have much older roots (Rousseau, 1762).