Laura Sharman 27 January 2022

Benefit reforms could lead to 'poorer health' campaigners warn

Benefit reforms could lead to poorer health campaigners warn image
Image: Willy Barton /

Plans to reform Universal Credit to move half a million people into jobs by the end of June could lead to poorer health, a charity has warned.

Under the measures, claimants now only have one month to find a job in their preferred sector before facing the prospect of sanctions.

The Way to Work campaign will require people to look for work in another sector after one month rather than three months in order to continue receiving their benefit payment.

However, the Health Foundation warned the move could force people into low quality jobs and lead to poorer health.

Assistant director for healthy lives, David Finch, said: at the Health Foundation, said: 'Research has shown that benefit sanctions are associated with higher levels of anxiety and stress, directly harming health as well as risking health by cutting incomes.

'The new measures may help unemployed people to look for a wider range of jobs sooner, but they also need support to retrain and time to find good quality work. Given the risks to people’s health from low quality jobs, and the higher likelihood of unemployed people having poor mental health, pushing them quickly into a low-quality roles is not something government policy should be encouraging.'

Work and pensions secretary Thérèse Coffey said: 'Way to Work is a step change in our offer to claimants and employers, making sure our jobcentre network and excellent Work Coaches can deliver opportunities, jobs and prosperity to all areas of the country.

'As we emerge from COVID, we are going to tackle supply challenges and support the continued economic recovery by getting people into work. Our new approach will help claimants get quickly back into the world of work while helping ensure employers get the people they and the economy needs.'

For your free daily news bulletin
Highways jobs

Assistant Director - Prevention and Service Development

North Yorkshire County Council
£86,252- £98,275 plus relocation support (up to £8,000)
Come and Join Team North Yorkshire! County Hall and around the county, including from home
Recuriter: North Yorkshire County Council

Principal Transport Development Planner

Suffolk County Council
£39,759 per annum (pro rata if part time)
A great opportunity to join the Suffolk County Council's Transport Strategy Team as a Principal Transport Development Planner. Suffolk County Council, Ipswich IP1 2BX
Recuriter: Suffolk County Council

Senior Manager - Asset and Network

Cheshire West & Chester
£56,593 - £62,792
This is a brand-new role developed out of our vision for the future of the recently established Transport and Highways directorate. Chester, Ellesmere Port, Winsford
Recuriter: Cheshire West & Chester

Provider Development Manager

North Yorkshire County Council
£50,183 - £58,379 plus relocation support (up to £8,000)
Come and Join Team North Yorkshire! County-wide – Hybrid
Recuriter: North Yorkshire County Council

Head of Integrated Care

North Yorkshire County Council
£60,567 - £69,001 plus relocation support (up to £8,000)
Come and Join Team North Yorkshire! North Yorkshire
Recuriter: North Yorkshire County Council

Partner Content

Circular highways is a necessity not an aspiration – and it’s within our grasp

Shell is helping power the journey towards a circular paving industry with Shell Bitumen LT R, a new product for roads that uses plastics destined for landfill as part of the additives to make the bitumen.

Support from Effective Energy Group for Local Authorities to Deliver £430m Sustainable Warmth Funded Energy Efficiency Projects

Effective Energy Group is now offering its support to the 40 Local Authorities who have received a share of the £430m to deliver their projects on the ground by surveying properties and installing measures.

Pay.UK – the next step in Bacs’ evolution

Dougie Belmore explains how one of the main interfaces between you and Bacs is about to change.