Posted: 29 April 2013

Questioning Universal Credit

The introduction of universal credit today marks the biggest change to the welfare system for a generation. 

This new system means that people who are looking for work or living on low incomes will receive a single monthly payment in place of benefits like income-based jobseeker’s allowance, income-based employment and support allowance, income support, child and working tax credits and housing benefit. 

Today it was introduced in parts of north-west of England, and it will be tested over the course of the summer, but will roll out across the rest of the UK starting from October. 

Since the government first announced their plans for universal credit, our policy team have been looking closely at what the changes will mean for children and families. Although many will benefit from changes to simplify the welfare system and make work pay, many others are at risk of losing out. For example:

  • 900,000 single-parent families will be worse off under universal credit than they are now
  • an inquiry by Baroness Tanni Grey-Thompson, supported by us, found that up to 500,000 disabled people and their families will be worse off under universal credit

Using Twitter to answer questions and spread the word

As our social media manager, a key part of my job is to raise awareness of issues like these and to hopefully get other people talking about them, too. Given the huge implications for children and families, we were really keen that as many people as possible understood the significance of today’s changes. That’s why we chose to use Twitter to hold a question and answer session about them.

So this lunchtime we spent an hour answering as many questions as possible on the issue, with our welfare expert Sam Royston taking the lead on the responses. Take a look at this roundup of all the questions we got and how we answered them. Are there any surprises in there for you? Let us know what you think - leave a comment or send us a tweet:





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By Lizzie Murray - Digital team

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