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Do the UK Government’s welfare reforms make work pay

  • Stuart Adam


    (Institute for Fiscal Studies and Institute for Fiscal Studies)

  • James Browne


    (Institute for Fiscal Studies and Institute for Fiscal Studies)

The UK government is in the process of introducing a radical package of welfare reforms that it hopes will encourage more people to work as well as reducing government expenditure. The largest structural change planned is the introduction of universal credit to combine six existing means-tested benefits for those of working age into a single payment, which is intended to reduce administration costs and errors, simplify claims, encourage take-up, and increase the incentive to work for those currently facing the weakest incentives. But the deficit reduction package has also involved tax changes and large benefit cuts that have an impact on financial work incentives. At the same time as these reforms have been introduced, weakness in the economy has meant that earnings have increased less quickly than benefit rates, which tends to make working less attractive. In this paper, we use micro-simulation techniques to investigate whether financial work incentives will indeed be stronger in 2015-16 than they were in 2010-11 and to separate out the impact of changes to taxes, benefit cuts and the introduction of universal credit from the impact of wider economic changes.

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Paper provided by Institute for Fiscal Studies in its series IFS Working Papers with number W13/26.

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Date of creation: Sep 2013
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:ifs:ifsewp:13/26
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  1. Jonathan Cribb & Carl Emmerson & Gemma Tetlow, 2013. "Incentives, shocks or signals: labour supply effects of increasing the female state pension age in the UK," IFS Working Papers W13/03, Institute for Fiscal Studies.
  2. James Browne, 2012. "REWEIGHT2: Stata module to reweight survey data to user-defined control totals," Statistical Software Components S457485, Boston College Department of Economics, revised 06 Sep 2012.
  3. Mike Brewer & James Browne & Andrew Hood & Robert Joyce & Luke Sibieta, 2013. "The Short‐ and Medium‐Term Impacts of the Recession on the UK Income Distribution," Fiscal Studies, Institute for Fiscal Studies, vol. 34(2), pages 179-201, 06.
  4. Mike Brewer & James Browne & Wenchao Jin, 2012. "Universal Credit: A Preliminary Analysis of Its Impact on Incomes and Work Incentives," Fiscal Studies, Institute for Fiscal Studies, vol. 33(1), pages 39-71, 03.
  5. Stuart Adam & James Browne, 2010. "Redistribution, work incentives and thirty years of UK tax and benefit reform," IFS Working Papers W10/24, Institute for Fiscal Studies.
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