Calls for Universal Credit to be reformed as the number of those on long-term ... trends now

Calls for Universal Credit to be reformed as the number of those on long-term ... trends now
Calls for Universal Credit to be reformed as the number of those on long-term ... trends now

Calls for Universal Credit to be reformed as the number of those on long-term ... trends now

Think-tank says current system discouraging people from going back to work 

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The UK benefits system must be reformed to tackle Britain's long-term sickness crisis after the number of claimants off due to ill health nearly doubled in a decade, a new report says.

Analysis of 'Universal Credit Britain' by the Resolution Foundation think-tank argues that the current system may be discouraging people from going back to work.

It points to official figures showing that while unemployment has fallen sharply, the number of benefit claimants out of work due to ill health has surged from 1.2 million when UC was introduced in 2013 to 2.3 million last year.

UC was brought in to replace a series of existing benefits including jobseeker's allowance and child tax credit as well as the employment support allowance - which supports people with living costs who are unable to work.

More than a third of those receiving UC are not required to seek work (stock image)

More than a third of those receiving UC are not required to seek work (stock image)

Universal Credit is in the final stages of being phased in, with seven million families on track to receive the benefit by the end of the next parliament (stock image)

Universal Credit is in the final stages of being phased in, with seven million families on track to receive the benefit by the end of the next parliament (stock image) 

It was designed to simplify the system and 'make work pay' but today Britain 'faces different labour market challenges', the report said.

Alex Clegg, economist at the Resolution Foundation, said: 'A lot has changed since Universal Credit was first introduced back in 2013.

'Its original design did not anticipate there being over two million claimants with poor health or disabilities.

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