Welfare reform hitting the poorest hardest

Welfare reform and labour markets

CRESR has a national reputation for undertaking research on labour markets in specific regional contexts among specific sub groups of the population and on labour market initiatives and welfare reform.

The centre is experienced at undertaking both large and small scale studies tailored to meet clients' needs. We use a range of methods to undertake process evaluations, impact analysis of labour market initiatives on outcomes, and the tracking of trajectories of local labour markets over time to assess the impact of welfare reform.

Key areas of expertise include:

  • conducting in-depth qualitative research with stakeholders, service providers and participants of job-activation schemes
  • designing, undertaking and analysing large scale surveys of workless individuals, households and benefit claimants
  • statistical analysis, benchmarking and spatial analysis of labour market trends, secondary and administrative data, benefits data and labour market outcomes
  • small area estimation of labour market accounting techniques and econometric analysis
  • profiling of labour markets in specific geographic areas
Search our work

Housing Benefit for Young People

Project Director: Professor Ian Cole
Project Duration: 2015

A study of the potential impact of the withdrawal of Housing Benefit from 18 to 21 year olds who are claiming JSA.

Evaluation of the Prepaid Card Live Test

Project Director: Jan Gilbertson and Dr Kesia Reeve
Project Duration: 2015

The aim of the prepaid card live test was to explore the feasibility of using prepaid cards to make benefit payments and to help identify any technical issues or opportunities to enhance financial inclusion presented by their use.  As part of this, DWP considered that it was essential to examine and capture the experiences of card users, including how the card worked for them as individuals and their views on how useful they found prepaid cards as a budgeting tool.

Evaluating Circle Housing Wherry’s HB2U pilot project

Project Director: Dr Kesia Reeve
Project Duration: 2014-2015

The aim of the project is to carry out an evaluation of data collection on tenants affected by Direct Payment of Housing Benefit, in preparation of Universal Credit. We will be required to produce a report on these findings, supported by additional activities during the reporting period.

HEIF Public Engagement in the Social Sciences and Humanities

Project Director: Professor Christina Beatty
Project Duration: 2014-2015

RCUK state that research public engagement can empower people, broaden attitudes and ensure that the work of universities and research institutes is relevant to society and wider social concerns. This project will build on the ground-breaking report Hitting the Poorest Places Hardest: the local and regional impact of welfare reform in 2013 which received in-depth coverage in the Financial Times. Now that the overhaul of the benefits system is substantially underway, the focus of this new study will be to ascertain the extent to which the reforms are achieving the key policy objective of changing claimants' labour market behaviour. The emerging findings will be disseminated widely via the media and public engagement activities.

The Impact of Welfare Reform on the Scottish Labour Market

Project Director: Professor Christina Beatty and Professor Steve Fothergill
Project Duration: 2015

This is the fourth research report produced by CRESR for the Scottish Parliament Welfare Reform Committee. The study was carried out jointly with Donald Houston of Glasgow University and breaks new ground. For the first time in Scotland or anywhere else in the UK it presents an assessment of the impact of welfare reform on employment and unemployment levels. The exercise is exploratory, but the results are not encouraging for supporters of welfare reform who have claimed that the loss of welfare benefits will be offset by more people looking for work and finding work. To date, there is no evidence of positive labour market impacts in Scotland.

Get in touch

For further information please contact Professor Del Roy Fletcher at d.r.fletcher@shu.ac.uk or call 0114 225 3487,
or Professor Christina Beatty at c.beatty@shu.ac.uk or call 0114 225 3539.

Key clients

British Destinations
Circle Housing Wherry
Coal Industry Social Welfare Organisation
Department for Work and Pensions
Financial Inclusion Services (Yorkshire)
Higher Education Innovation Funding (HEIF)
Jobcentre Plus
Joseph Rowntree Foundation
Ministry of Justice
National Association for Voluntary and Community Action (NAVCA)
National Housing Federation
Northern Ireland Council for Voluntary Action
Nottingham City and County Employment and Skills Board
Nottinghamshire County Council
Residential Landlords Association
Rochdale Metropolitan Borough Council
Small Business Service
Visit Wales
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