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Introducing Universal Credit.

Spicker, Paul


Paul Spicker


Gaby Ramia

Kevin Farnsworth

Zoe Irving


In this chapter, author Paul Spicker interrogates the government's introduction of Universal Credit, a controversial scheme designed to unify various means-tested benefits for people of working age. The scheme brings together six existing benefits: income-related Jobseeker's Allowance and Employment and Support Allowance, Working Tax Credit and Child Tax Credit, Housing Benefit and Income Support. Spicker argues that analysts of Universal Credit must drill down to the detail of the scheme and the benefits that it covers. He sees defects in 'the concept and design' of the Universal Credit agenda, as there were in previous grand schemes in social policy history. He also sees potential for the benefit system to break down if it cannot prove to be practically viable. Governments, Spicker contends, cannot easily meet the multiple objectives that must be typically met in 'simple' and 'unified' benefit programmes.


SPICKER, P. 2013. Introducing Universal Credit. In Ramia, G., Farnsworth, K. and Irving, Z. Social policy review 25: analysis and debate in social policy. Bristol: Policy Press [online], pages 1-16. Available from:

Online Publication Date Dec 31, 2013
Publication Date Jan 31, 2014
Deposit Date Aug 2, 2018
Publicly Available Date Aug 2, 2018
Publisher Policy Press
Pages 1-16
Book Title Social policy review 25
ISBN 9781447312741
Keywords Universal credit; Benefits; Jobseeker's allowance; Employment and support allowance; Working tax credit; Child tax credit; Housing benefit; Income support; Government
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