In data: the benefits squeeze

The government is feeling the pressure over Britain’s Universal Credit safety net. Here’s why
January 22, 2021

Austerity reversed—but for how long?

Out of work and you were out of luck in the austerity years, with low benefits that kept shrinking. But in the lockdown, ministers agreed to a £20 boost—till April. Can they really ask the poor to take a £20 cut now?

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The long squeeze

Pressure is building, but a long view explains the resistance to budge. Beyond the £6bn cost, ministers want to get back to a labour market model that has sought to prod people into work by squeezing the dole relative to wages for 40-plus years.

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Breadline Britain

Look overseas, and the case for holding out crumbles. Short-term benefits replace far less income for a single worker on an average wage than in most big economies**. Does the UK really want redundancy to be a trapdoor to poverty?

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Sources: Charts 1 and 2: Resolution Foundation. Chart 3: OECD