Universal Credit good for business? 

A new research project wants to hear from employers in Greater Manchester to find out their views on Universal Credit and how it affects their business. 

Most research into out-of-work benefits focuses on how the system affects jobseekers. 

But this innovative new approach, led by Manchester Metropolitan University’s Centre for Decent Work and Productivity and supported by the Economic and Social Research Council (part of UK Research and Innovation), will explore what impacts Universal Credit has had on job creators.  

Introduced in 2013, Universal Credit is paid to those who are out of work or on a low income (UC replaces Jobseekers Allowance and Working Tax Credits). 

Payment is dependent on claimants meeting a number of conditions, which for many includes requirements to spend 35 hours a week looking for and applying for jobs. 

More than six million people in the UK now claim Universal Credit. Greater Manchester has a relatively high number of Universal Credit claimants compared to other Districts, with 326,978 people claiming the benefit in April 2021.  

Project leader, Dr Katy Jones of the Centre for Decent Work and Productivity, said: “Policy is typically aimed at getting people off benefits and back into work quickly, often by encouraging claimants to apply for as many jobs as possible. 

“There is little or no emphasis on whether the applicant is a good fit for the role they are applying for or how long they are likely to stay in the job if they are successful.  

“We want to hear directly from employers about their experience of the Universal Credit and understand what works well and what doesn’t. 

“What changes can be made to create a Universal Credit system that helps employers find the right candidate and helps jobseekers earn fulfilling long term employment?” 

All responses will help towards a research paper which will be submitted to the government alongside suggestions for changes to the Universal Credit system.  

To take part in the research, contact Dr Katy Jones at katy.jones@mmu.ac.uk or follow the project on Twitter @UC_Employers for updates. 

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