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
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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.

A framework of indicators for measuring inclusive growth

Project Director: Dr Richard Crisp
Project Diration: 2014-2015

It is increasingly recognised that measures of economic growth such as gross value added (GVA) fail to capture the nature and distributional outcomes of growth. This is significant as growth may not necessarily benefit households living in poverty. This research addressed this by developing a framework of indicators to capture the complex and changing relationship between poverty and growth and to identify the extent of ‘inclusive growth’ in Britain’s cities and city-regions.

An Evaluation of Crisis' Sharing Solutions Programme

Project Director: Dr Stephen Green
Project Duration: 2014-2015

Crisis is supporting eight projects throughout England, with grant funding from the Department for Communities and Local Government (DCLG). The programme aims to develop and deliver innovative ways to improve shared accommodation in the private rented sector for those receiving housing benefit and only entitled to the shared accommodation rate (SAR) of Local Housing Allowance (LHA). The programme is seeking to:

  • develop models of renting that incentivise private landlords to rent to SAR recipients
  • improve the availability of shared accommodation, and
  • improve the sustainability of tenancies in shared accommodation.

CRESR is carrying out an evaluation of the programme, aimed at highlighting solutions that work and how barriers and challenges can be overcome.

See client website for more information.

The Cumulative Impact of Welfare Reform in Scotland

Project Director: Professor Christina Beatty and Professor Steve Fothergill
Project Duration: 2014-2015

This is the third research report produced by CRESR for the Scottish Parliament Welfare Reform Committee. The study updates estimates of the impact of individual welfare reform measures on Scotland as a whole and calculates the scale of the financial losses over all. In addition, the assessment identifies the scale of the impact on different household types 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
Community Links
Department for Work and Pensions
Financial Inclusion Services (Yorkshire)
Higher Education Innovation Funding (HEIF)
Jobcentre Plus
Joseph Rowntree Foundation
Labour Party
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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