Laura Sharman 26 March 2015

Study shows low-income families struggling with welfare reforms

Study shows low-income families struggling with welfare reforms image

The Government’s welfare reforms have caused social housing tenants to run up debts or reduce spending on food, according to a new study.

The research was conducted by the LSE to explore the impact the reforms have had on low-income communities over the past two years. It found that one in ten tenants have found work as a result of reforms, although the majority of these are part-time with uncertain hours.

Is Welfare Reform Working? also found that most social housing tenants face ‘persistent’ barriers to work such as ill health or disability, lack of suitable jobs, poor skills levels and high childcare costs.

A third of tenants are struggling financially as a result of the reforms, with 63% saying they are cutting spending on food, getting into debt to pay bills or borrowing from family and friends.

Anne Power, Professor of Social Policy at LSE, said: ‘Four hundred interviews with two hundred tenants over two years paints a powerful and painful picture of low income tenants struggling to cope with falling incomes. Social landlords are offering more support but can’t close the gap.’

Other key findings were:

• While the majority of tenants find their links with the Jobcentre unhelpful, they are generally positive about free training opportunities, particularly those provided through Learn Direct.
• Sanctions and reassessments of tenants’ benefits have the potential to destabilise households and cause debt and arrears that increase household vulnerability.
• The majority of tenants commonly go for advice to Citizens Advice and other support agencies.
• Three quarters (74%) of economically inactive tenants care for disabled family members, volunteer in their communities or take care of young children.

Participatory budgeting image

Participatory budgeting

Evgeny Barkov explains what participatory budgeting means and how it can reveal what citizens need.
For your free daily news bulletin
Highways jobs

Community Support Worker - Adult Social Care

Essex County Council
£20604 - £26801 per annum
Essex County Council continues to review its ways of working during the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic. We continue to work within adult social care with a England, Essex, Harlow
Recuriter: Essex County Council

Register now for our IT Apprenticeship Open Evening!

Essex County Council
We're looking for people who are interested in IT and technology to join our apprenticeship scheme and get real skills and experience as an IT solutio England, Essex
Recuriter: Essex County Council

Business Support Officer - Brokerage

Kirklees Metropolitan Council
£18,795 - £19,171 per annum
Your role will be to provide Business Support to the individual teams section and duties will include... Kirklees, West Yorkshire
Recuriter: Kirklees Metropolitan Council

Placement Monitoring Officer

Essex County Council
Children and Families service is recognised as a service in which social work can develop and prosper, with a culture of collaboration, integrity and England, Essex, Chelmsford
Recuriter: Essex County Council

Head of Communications & Marketing

Derby City Council
£53,003 to £59,243
Derby's mission to shift the dial on communications and stakeholder engagement Derby, Derbyshire
Recuriter: Derby City Council

Public Property

Latest issue - Public Property News

This issue of Public Property examines how how flexible workspaces can lead the way in regeneration for local authorities, Why local authority intervention is key to successful urban regeneration schemes and if the Government’s challenge of embracing beauty is an opportunity for communities.

The March issue also takes a closer look at Blackburn with Darwen Council's first digital health hub to help people gain control over health and care services.

Register for your free digital issue