JRF comments on Labour policy on Universal Credit

Responding to Labour’s announcements on Universal Credit, Helen Barnard, Deputy Director for Policy and Partnerships at the Joseph Rowntree Foundation said:

“We welcome significant reform to Universal Credit so that it is the anchor people need in hard times, but any changes need to avoid further upheaval for those who depend on it. Reducing waiting times, making payments when people need them and ending the two child limit are all important in creating a system with dignity and compassion at its heart.

“Universal Credit has the potential to be a tool for fighting poverty, but it urgently needs reform to build on the changes which have already been made by the government. Benefits also need to be uprated in line with inflation and take proper account of the costs people face. The freeze on benefits has been the single biggest driver of rising poverty in recent years, with almost half-a-million more people swept into poverty during the four years of the freeze. Support for housing costs have fallen far behind rents in many parts of the country – helping drive up in-work poverty. We hope to see all parties commit to changing that.

“People on low incomes want to see politicians deliver changes that allow them to build a better life; listening to people with experience of the system to fix Universal Credit is a good place to start.”