Our Ideas Updates

Updated Nov 2016


Social security is one of the most controversial areas of public policy. Those who can work should do so and should be given the proper opportunities to do so. Those that have contributed to the welfare system should be able to use it when they need to. But it is how this is measured, defined and delivered that causes the most debate.

READ MORE: National salary insurance: Reforming the welfare state to provide real protection

Tackle unemployment quickly, effectively and locally

The longer people are out of work, the harder it is for them to return. Many who are furthest from the jobs market have a range of complex needs that need to be dealt with in an integrated fashion. Making the connections between physical health, mental health and social care services, and focussing these on the needs of the individual, is essential.

These services are best delivered locally so they can then be integrated with other services, tailored to local circumstances and delivered with the support of local employers.

There should also be a separate stream of support focused specifically on young people. Supporting all 18-24 year olds to be ‘earning or learning’ will ensure that they develop the tools they need for the rest of their lives. Young people who do not get a good education or who fail to make early connections to the labour market face a far greater risk of unemployment and low earnings in the future, and so investing in them early saves money in the longer term.

READ MORE: Promoting contribution: Boosting employment opportunity for all

READ MORE: Alright for some? Fixing the Work Programme, locally

READ MORE: Welfare earnback: An invest-to-save approach to designing the new Work and Health Programme

READ MORE: No more NEETs: A plan for all young people to be learning or earning

Tackle the structural drivers of higher spending on welfare

Rather than relying on short term fixes, we must tackle the structural drivers of higher welfare spending such as rising rents, inadequate childcare, low skills and worklessness among people facing multiple barriers to work, such as those with a disability or a health condition.

READ MORE: Breaking boundaries: Towards a ‘Troubled Lives’ programme for people facing multiple and complex needs

READ MORE: On the front foot: Designing a welfare cap that reforms social security

READ MORE: Benefits to bricks: Mobilising local leadership to build homes and control the benefits bill

READ MORE: No more baby steps: A strategy for revolutionising childcare

Improve income security

Financial stress is one of the biggest causes of family stress and even breakdown. Supporting families to save and/or borrow through the right vehicles better insulates them against this stress. High interest credit leaves too many families struggling with a spiral of debt, and the government should end the ‘poverty premium’ facing low income families who have little choice but to go to payday lenders.

Everyone should be properly provided for in their old age. At present, less than half of the UK population are adequately saving for retirement – an unsustainable situation. Too few people understand private pension provision and what they need and are entitled to. The government should pension provision to suit all needs, with pension options that work properly for everyone.

READ MORE: Designing a Life-Course Savings Account: How to help low-to-middle income families save more

READ MORE: Jumping the shark: Building institutions to spread access to affordable credit

READ MORE: Defining ambitions: Shaping pension reform around public attitudes

Back to top