New research on the influence of means-testing on family structure

The Journal of Social Policy has published research that shows that ‘aspects of welfare that remove or reduce a mother’s access to an independent income and require one partner in a couple to be financially dependent on the other had been strongly influential in partnering decisions and living arrangements … findings reinvigorate arguments in favour of reforming the social security system in ways which increase the financial independence of claimants who live together, or would like to … Interest in the idea of a Basic Income – a universal, unconditional payment made to all citizens – has recently been gaining momentum … Its advantage over simply individualising assessment and entitlement is the wholesale elimination of means testing and conditionality, thereby removing all incentive and disincentive effects to partnership formation and dissolution, as well as to paid work by either partner in a couple.’ (Rita Griffiths, ‘No Love on the Dole: The influence of the UK means-tested welfare system on partnering and family structure’, Journal of Social Policy, vol. 46, no. 3, 2017, pp. 543-61)