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Benefit reforms have pushed more into part-time, low-paid jobs, new research finds

BENEFIT reforms in the past decades have pushed more people into part-time, low-paid jobs with little prospect of future high wages, new research has found.

Universal credit (UC), the Tories’ flagship reform, appears to have helped claimants return to work more quickly, according to the Institute for Fiscal Studies (IFS).

But imposing job-search conditions on out-of-work lone parents has pushed them into mostly part-time jobs paying an average of just £8,000 a year, the think tank said.

Almost none earned more than £20,000, putting them in the bottom 40 per cent of earners.

Some also responded by claiming incapacity benefits instead, where looking for work is not required.

UC has made little difference in increasing incentives to switch from part- to full time work, the think tank said.

Claimants therefore often linger in low-paid, part time work while paying little in tax and still receiving in-work benefits.

Disabled People Against Cuts’ Linda Burnip said that while disabled people who want to work should be supported to do so, “with cuts to social care, lack of accessible transport and the huge backlogs in accessing funding, this is becoming more and more difficult.”

She told the Star: “Disabled people, who for whatever reason feel unable to work, should never be forced to do so.

“It is also past time that being a loan parent or family carer is seen as work in itself and forcing these groups into low paid work should end.”

IFS senior research economist Tom Waters said that policymakers “would do well to look beyond the headline employment number” when setting benefits policy.

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