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Join Bright Blue’s digital panel ‘Safe and secure? Shaping a recovery that reduces destitution beyond COVID-19’.

Even before the COVID-19 pandemic, there were significant concerns about the adequacy of our welfare system: increasing prevalence of in-work poverty, rising food bank usage, inadequate support for housing costs and vulnerable groups facing issues with the design of Universal Credit around levels and deductions. As hundreds of thousands of people accessed state support during the coronavirus crisis, the Government acted quickly to improve the help it was offering, particularly in terms of levels. The Government has also been responsive, continuing to provide high levels of support as the pandemic progressed for example by extending the furlough scheme and investing in local welfare.

However, support through furlough programmes will end early next year, leaving many more people exposed to the welfare system. Meanwhile, the benefit uplift is at risk of not being extended, meaning that many will face significant reductions in income at a time where the economy only begins to recover. Considering the state of local government finances, there are also concerns about their ability to provide localised welfare support. Hence, it is vital to consider the effectiveness of recently introduced welfare changes in addressing poverty and destitution, and how our social security system should support people during the recovery period.

  • The Rt Hon Stephen Crabb MP, Former Secretary of State for Work and Pensions
  • Baroness Stroud, CEO, Legatum Institute
  • Dr Tania Burchardt, Director of the Centre for Analysis of Social Exclusion, London School of Economics
  • Emma Revie, Chief Executive, Trussell Trust
  • Ryan Shorthouse, Chief Executive, Bright Blue