Consultation response: Eligibility for free school meals and the early years pupil premium under Universal Credit

The Government recently proposed new criteria for eligibility to free school meals under Universal Credit. We welcome both the commitment to ensuring that free school meals are maintained for those on the lowest incomes, as well as the protection measures proposed for those that lose eligibility.

However, it is our view that the proposal, as it stands, does not meet the objectives of Universal Credit which is to make work pay. Our consultation response set out our main reservations about the current proposal, together with a suggested solution.

Read blog How to give 1 million more children free school meals under Universal Credit and make work pay here

Autumn Budget 2017: Briefing option papers on Universal Credit

The briefing papers were created with feedback from practioners and analysis by Policy in Practice. The options in the papers were discussed with DWP and offer a range of suggestions that would ease the transition for the seven million households who will be receiving Universal Credit in the coming years.

Read background and summary of options here 

Credit where it’s due: overcoming the barriers to mainstream credit with data

Lenders could consider lower income families for a loan if they had access to additional information on earnings and payment history, collected by government.

Policy in Practice has been commissioned by the Financial Inclusion Commission to investigate how public sector data can be used to widen access to mainstream credit, and improve the credit files of those who may be at risk of financial exclusion.

The Cumulative Impact of Welfare Reform: A National Picture

The cost of poverty for local authorities is set to rise as the welfare reform programme continues and more people on low incomes will be in need of support.

Policy in Practice has analysed the cumulative impact of welfare reform across Great Britain for the Local Government Association. In light of the complex changes introduced, this work shows the overall impact on local populations and highlights the key challenges for local authorities.

Low income Londoners project by Policy in Practice funded by Trust for London

Low Income Londoners and Welfare Reform

With support from Trust for London Policy in Pracice is tracking around one million low-income Londoners across 14 boroughs to understand the causes and consequences of poverty. Our household level approach brings together anonymised data sets from different councils in order to track income, employment and poverty over time. Phase one of the 18 month project is now complete. To date we’ve combined data from 14 London boroughs on 444,000 low income households. Over 550,000 adults and 350,000 children live in these households, representing 27% of the overall population living in these boroughs. Download the interim findings.

Two Child Tax Credit - report front page

The impact of the two-child limit to tax credits

From Thursday 6 April 2017 the amount of Child Tax Credit support available to families across the UK will be limited to two children. Policy in Practice analysed the impact of the two child limit to tax credits rule coming into effect and we find that, from April, a third child born to low income families will miss out on up to £2,780 of tax credit support a year. This change will affect 8,000 families each month. The two child limit to tax credits measure will affect all households with two or more children that have an additional baby after this date. This report details further findings and the methodology used.

FIC Report Cover

Financial Inclusion: Improving the Financial Health of the Nation

Policy in Practice supported the Financial Inclusion Commission to produce a report of its findings. Financial Inclusion: Improving the financial health of the nation brings together the evidence the Commission has gathered from around the country. It identifies the progress made toward financial inclusion as well as the significant gaps that remain and the challenges ahead. The report also sets out a vision for a financially inclusive society and makes recommendations on what steps need to be taken to make this a reality.

Universal Credit: Towards an Effective Poverty Reduction Strategy

This comprehensive review of Universal Credit finds that Universal Credit will help to reduce poverty through more money in people’s ‘pockets’ and improved ‘prospects’ upon entering work. The report recommends short, medium and long term reforms to Universal Credit to make the policy truly transformative. It was written by Deven Ghelani and Lisa Stidle and supported by the JRF.

Benefit Cap White Paper

Policy in Practice’s Benefit Cap White Paper details the approach pioneered by Lewisham Council to help their residents who are impacted by the Benefit Cap, illustrates how the approach is having a real impact on people’s lives, and shares key lessons for other local authorities.

The right start: How to support early intervention through initial contact with families

The Children’s Society worked with Policy in Practice to produce a ‘how to’ guide to sharing live birth data and principles of a data-sharing agreement which can be adopted and implemented by local authorities.