The Equality and Human Rights Commission report on welfare reform

The Equality and Human Rights Commission has published a report on the effects of social security reforms since 2010.

… Apart from redesigning some benefits and ending the more damaging measures, the UK Government could reconsider welfare reforms in the light of evidence about the disproportionate impact of the reforms on some protected groups. This should include serious consideration of: how welfare and welfare-to-work policies can actively support the equal participation of women and lone parents; how to ensure that disabled people who are able to work have the support they need; and how to ensure that disabled people and their families are adequately financially supported when they cannot work.

A change in policy direction requires the use of evidence to review how people can be supported into work in ways that do not involve benefit cuts, and their impacts. It requires revising the theory of change behind the reforms – that economic inactivity is a lifestyle choice and that cutting support will facilitate movement into work. It also requires acknowledging that structural, not just individual, barriers to work need to be better understood and addressed. More generally, there is a case for reframing welfare positively, as something needed by all sections of society at points in their lifetime. At the same time, it could be regarded as a means to promote equality and inclusion and to achieve an acceptable standard of living.

To read the report, click here.