Comment on the Chancellor’s announcement on Universal Credit

The Chancellor has announced that 600,000 more people on Universal Credit will need to meet with a work coach. Melanie Wilkes, Head of Research at the Work Foundation at Lancaster University said: “We’re concerned that Government is planning to put a greater number of people out of work under pressure to meet Universal Credit requirements.

“This approach ignores the deep challenges that many face in trying to find a job or stay in work. And will be difficult to deliver without significant investment in our employment support services, which are already stretched and under pressure.

“Requiring people – who are unwell, disabled or have caring responsibilities – to meet a work coach and threatening them with the risk of a sanction to their benefits risks doing a great deal more harm than good, particularly in the context of the recession.

“Instead, individuals in these circumstances who want to work should have access to specialist support on a voluntary basis, with no impact on their entitlement to essential financial support.”