The Social Security Advisory Committee (SSAC) has highlighted the need for further analysis in order to properly assess the cumulative impact of welfare reform.{jcomments on}

War on Welfare (WOW) campaign organisers welcome the new recommendations published in the SSAC report, following their petition to ministers and the debate prompted by their campaign.

In the new report, the SSAC highlights that it is difficult to assess the overall effect of welfare reform because many of the impact assessments are produced for individual policies rather than welfare reform as a whole.

The report summarises the overall assessments that are available and highlights where there are gaps in the evidence base.

It found that, although there have been some overall assessments of impact, these have only looked at the effect on income (which have been largely negative) or geographical area and have not yet looked at the effect on claimant behaviour.

Organisations with specialist interest have reported on analysis for certain groups of people affected, but not across a range of different types of household.

There is recognition that disabled people in particular are likely to be affected by welfare reform in many ways, because of the multiple benefits they receive and the limitations on being able to alter their behaviour to mitigate negative impact on their income.

Whilst acknowledging that the government's programme of welfare reform is also intended to bring about longer-term positive impacts such as improved work incentives, the report states that it is too soon to assess the impact of these upon claimant behaviour.

In its report, the SSAC makes a number of recommendations -

  • the government should produce further analysis of the cumulative impact of welfare reform on vulnerable groups such as disabled people and publish the findings within six months;

  • the DWP should provide a range of case study examples of the cumulative impact of welfare reform and produce further quantitative analysis. Such examples, based on certain household types, should illustrate how the effect of individual reforms might accumulate for particular claimant groups (in terms of their income and their behavioural choices);

  • the DWP should consider extending its forthcoming evaluation of UC so as to also evaluate the impact of this welfare reform; and

  • the DWP should consider whether there have been any cumulative impacts on vulnerable claimant groups that need to be mitigated.

    Click here to read the report in full.




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