Northern Ireland Affairs Committee and Work and Pensions Committee joint inquiry into welfare policy in Northern Ireland: Joint submission from the Joseph Rowntree Foundation, University of York and Ulster University: Interim report on universal credit in Northern Ireland appended

Mark Simpson, Ruth Patrick, Iain Porter

Research output: Other contribution

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The Joseph Rowntree Foundation (‘JRF’) is currently undertaking research into the experiences of Universal Credit (‘UC’) claimants in Northern Ireland (‘NI’), led by Ruth Patrick of University of York and Mark Simpson of Ulster University. Our interim report (currently unpublished) is attached as an Appendix.
The research is at an early stage, but we would be delighted to involve Committee members in the knowledge exchange phase with claimants (autumn 2019) and/or to provide further evidence on the findings to the Committees at a later date. Subject to the agreement of study participants, we could also potentially set up a meeting between participants and Committee members.
Our existing research on UC in the UK and on poverty in NI indicates that the impact of reforms to the social security system in NI will differ from the rest of the UK because of the nature of its economy and society.
UC is likely to have a disproportionately negative impact on NI due to the higher proportion of homeowners and workless households.
The ‘two-child limit’ will probably have a greater impact in NI because there are a higher proportion of families with three or more children. The effects may differ between Catholic and Protestant communities as a result of differences in family size. The two-child limit will also increasingly nullify the effect of NI’s Benefit Cap mitigation payments.
Of the mitigation measures currently in place, ending the Social Sector Size Criteria (‘SSSC’) (i.e. the ‘bedroom tax’) and Benefit Cap mitigations would have the greatest adverse effects. However, the UK reforms resulting in the biggest financial losses to large numbers of people have not been subject to mitigation measures.
Original languageEnglish
TypeSubmission to parliamentary inquiry
Media of outputText
Number of pages34
Publication statusPublished - 5 Jun 2019


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