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In just a few short weeks, the new Universal Credit benefit system starts to roll out, albeit more slowly than originally planned (but already in operation in pilot areas). This new benefits system rolls a wide variety of benefits into a single process, including unemployment benefit – and crucially, it extends ‘conditionality’ even to people who are already working, so that penalties can be applied to people for not having enough hours, or if they are not considered to be trying hard enough to get more hours.
The government’s ‘policy aims’ for this new system state that:
Universal Credit is designed to ensure that for people who can, work is still the best route out of poverty and an escape from benefit dependence. The aim of Universal Credit is to increase labour market participation, reduce worklessness and increase in-work progression. The conditionality regime will recast the relationship between the citizen…
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