Benefits & welfare reform

Key findings


of Londoners claimed an out-of-work benefit in 2016. This is a lower proportion than the rest of England.


of unemployed Londoners claimed Job Seeker's Allowance or Universal Credit in 2016.


benefits sanctions in 2016 - down from 130,000 in 2012. But the sanction rate is rising for Universal Credit.


The social security system matters a great deal for poverty because benefits are a key income component for poorer families, both those in work and out of work. In the UK in 2015/16, on average for those in the bottom fifth of the income distribution, benefit payments made up 46% of disposable income. As such, low income families are greatly affected by changes/reductions to social security benefits. The Coalition and Conservative Governments have implemented a major programme of cuts and changes since 2010.

This set of indicators highlights the reduced generosity of the welfare system and the removal of some protections for those at the bottom of the income distribution. Benefits have been frozen until 2020, but inflation means that benefit incomes will be reduced in real terms.

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