How well is Universal Credit supporting people in Glasgow?

Universal Credit should be a lifeline we can all rely on in turbulent times - to make sure it is, we must work directly with those experiencing the system and reflect their experience back through compassionate and just design.

This research makes recommendations, shaped by people with experience of claiming and delivering UC in Glasgow, that would ensure UC can genuinely keep our heads above water.

While the UK Government has introduced some welcome temporary measures boosting the support that UC offers in the wake of COVID-19, more needs to be done at all levels of government, particularly for families with children. The crisis has highlighted just how crucial our social security system is in keeping us afloat; it is only right that we redesign it so that it protects all of us.

Recommendations

For UK Government and the Department of Work and Pensions (DWP):

  • Reform UC to stop it pulling people into poverty; end the five-week wait, repayable advances and high rates of deduction. Re-set its value to cover the cost of living.
  • Ensure housing cost payments to landlords are in sync with individuals’ claim and payment dates.
  • Invest in Jobcentre Plus staff to deliver a person-centred service, with dignity and respect at its heart.
  • Review all work-related requirements for UC claimants awaiting a Work Capability Assessment.

For Scottish Government, DWP and local partners:

  • Improve awareness of and access to the full range of support: Scottish Welfare Fund, the DWP Flexible Support Fund, Discretionary Housing Payments and money, banking and debt advice.
  • Explore with claimants how to maximise the payment flexibilities known as Scottish Choices.
  • Evaluate approaches by Jobcentre Plus staff and partners including local government and housing providers to improve support for people in vulnerable circumstances; if effective, consider scaling up.

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