Broken Benefits

What's Gone Wrong with Welfare Reform?

Sam Royston

Broken Benefits

Sam Royston

Distributed for Policy Press at the University of Bristol

276 pages | 5 1/2 x 8 1/2 | © 2017
Paper $26.00 ISBN: 9781447333265 Published January 2018 For sale in North and South America only
The United Kingdom is at a critical juncture in welfare policy, as the current government delivers on the previous regime’s austerity-driven reforms while simultaneously cutting an additional ₤38 billion from benefits spending over the next five years. Broken Benefits is a straightforward guide to the UK welfare system, correcting misunderstandings and exposing some of the less-understood problems. Sam Royston argues that the current government’s twin goals of cutting spending and creating work incentives will ultimately fail to deliver a better system. Drawing on original research and high-profile debates, this much-needed book offers solutions: pragmatic ideas about how the system should be reformed and put into practice, including real-life case studies, models of household budgets, projections of welfare budget spending, and a free online benefits calculator. Accessibly written and offering a blueprint for how welfare should work, Royston presents an alternative vision of a fair, effective, and coherent benefits system for the future.
Contents
List of figures and tables
About the author
Acknowledgements
Part I: Introducing the benefits system
1 Introduction
2 The makings of a ‘British revolution’: A brief history of benefits
3 What are benefits for?
Part II: Mapping it all out – The mechanics of the benefits system
4 Benefit entitlements for people with no other income or savings
5 Contribution-based benefit entitlements for people with no other income or savings
6 How support changes on moving into work
Part III: A thousand cuts
7 A freeze is as good as a cut
8 ‘Unlimited’ welfare
9 Welfare reform and the ‘family test’
10 Cuts to Employment and Support Allowance and the ‘limited capability for work’ component of Universal Credit
11 Triple locked? Benefits for pensioners
12 Welfare that works? The ‘old’ systems
13 Welfare that works? Universal Credit
14 Contribution-based benefits: The great insurance scam
Part IV: Chaos, error and misjudgments – Payments and administration in the benefits system
15 Reasons to be fearful?: assessing sickness and disability
16 ‘Chaos, error and misjudgment’: The administration of Tax credits and Universal Credit
17 Sanctions
18 Local benefits, local choices
19 Making ‘older people’ older: Changes in the pension age
Part V: The ‘new settlement’ – Benefits in 2020
20 Understanding the ‘low tax, low welfare’ economy
21 The social impact of moving to a ‘low welfare’ economy
Part VI: Better benefits
22 Preventing poverty and destitution
23 A system that responds to household need
24 Supporting ‘socially desirable’ behaviours
25 Simplicity from the claimant’s perspective
26 Conclusion
Notes
Index
 
Review Quotes
Naomi Eisenstadt, University of Oxford
"This excellent book not only explains clearly how we got to the broken system we have, and what principles should guide its overhaul. An important book for all those making decisions about the benefits system and those hoping to influence those decisions."
Baroness Tanni Grey-Thompson of Eaglescliffe
"A highly engaging and accessible account of the challenges within our social security system and a powerful manifesto for change. This authoritative guide to the facts behind the headlines is needed now more than ever."
Rt. Hon. Baroness Hollis of Heigham, former Social Security Minister
“A superb and deeply knowledgeable analysis of how our benefit system really works – and sometimes doesn’t – for those in need. Benefits too often confuse, conflict, are wrongly sanctioned and wrongly denied; claiming them even leaves some people worse off. Yet a sane and decent benefit system, both for those in and out of work, is the most effective path out of poverty. Clear-eyed, compassionate and compelling, this book is a must-read, and must-keep, for all who care about the poverty and insecurity of our fellow citizens. “
Rt. Hon. Stephen Timms, MP for East Ham and former Social Security Minister
"Here is a policy expert who writes with real warmth. His plan to repair the safety net is unmissable."
Terry Patterson, National Association of Welfare Rights Advisers
"Broken Benefits gives expert, accessible exposure of social security provision in the UK – its past, its cuts, its future plans. It strongly calls for Better Benefits."
Patrick Butler, Social Policy Editor | The Guardian
"Invaluable: not just a clear and authoritative guide to the complex world of social security benefits, but a superb analysis of why much recent welfare reform has gone wrong and what needs to be done to get the system right for the people who rely on it." 
For more information, or to order this book, please visit http://www.press.uchicago.edu
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