Universal credit is simply inadequate to meet day to day living costs. This means despite temporary cost of living payments, many households face deep financial precarity, using loans to cover bills and, in some cases, going without heating or hot meals.
In the absence of a mission-led approach, social security policy is seen in narrow and negative terms about reducing costs or managing risks of fraud. Harmful rhetoric and ill-informed stereotypes about life on a low income have contributed to this, eroding trust in the system and creating the conditions that have enabled the UK to maintain one of the least generous rates of income replacement across the OECD.
In this report we show how we can build a strategic, ambitious and collaborative response to improve our social security system.