To What Extent Could Universal Credit Successfully Tackle Poverty?

1251 words - 6 pages

Welfare benefits are provided by the Government to help those who are unemployed or receive a low income. These benefits are there to provide families or individuals with enough money to survive. Unfortunately sometimes surviving just is not enough. Due to lack of work, idleness, disabilities and a number of other reasons people turn to benefits. A minority of these people are classed as or class themselves as living in poverty. Poverty comes in a range of forms. It has been suggested that there are two main types of poverty relative, people who are considered 'poor' compared to those around them, however can afford the basics. Where as those in absolute poverty do not have enough money to ...view middle of the document...

Social exclusion tends to occur when a person is isolated from society, with no income, poor health and/or no education. Ethnic groups and people with disabilities are most likely to experience this along side poverty. This may not be down to wealth but also discrimination.

Murray (1999) stated that there is an 'underclass', people in this underclass do not want to work, often excluded themselves from society and becoming dependent on benefits. They believe that they get more from benefits than if they were in work. There are a number of groups who are likely to experience poverty and slip into the underclass. These include lone parent families, criminals and those stated in the previous paragraph.

People both in and out of work may opt for something call social security, social security offers safety, money and housing. McKay and Rowlingson (1999) suggested that social security aims to provide relief from poverty to help out when life events occur, redistribution of resources provide financial support when families breakdown. Walker (2005) stated that social security promotes social cohesion offering people financial stability so they can function in society.

Social security traps people in poverty and faces problems such as fraud and false claimants. Alcock et al (2003) argues that social security makes assumptions regarding family structures. In modern day Britain the nuclear family is no longer the dominant family type due to the acceptance of divorce and single parent families.

Contributions are made to ensure people receive benefits, people pay national insurance. Not everyone does this those that do not contribute are often unable to claim benefits. There are non-contributory benefits which anyone can claim for if they meet the criteria such as child benefits and employment support allowance. Lastly the means tested benefits such as job seekers allowance, people often ignore due to the complications of the forms and being unsure if they are eligible. Resulting in many benefits being unclaimed.

The Beveridge Report (1942) found that poverty was largely down to circumstances beyond individuals control. That the Government should accept their responsibilities and eradicate poverty. Due to the number of people who have been trapped in benefits over the past few years the Government took action. Introducing the idea of a Universal Credit changing things so that people would be better of in work than on benefits. There were over 50 types of benefits which made things complicated.

The Government merged 6 of the main means tested benefits and tax credits into one universal payment this included child tax credit, housing benefits and income...

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