Author: Ben Baumberg Geiger

  • The cut to Universal Credit is not the real problem

    This week’s cut to Universal Credit is an eye-catching policy, in all the wrong ways. It’s the largest overnight cut to the basic rate of benefits since WWII, taking money away from nearly two million people who are already food insecure. To make matters worse, it’s happening at a time when basic costs for low-income […]

  • The elephant in the room of social security reform

    Lots of smart people on the left are thinking about how to create a better social security system – but I’m worried. Most seem to agree that there’s a lot wrong with Universal Credit (UC). The five-week wait, the benefits cap, the two-child limit, the Work Capability Assessment, the generally low levels of payments – […]

  • Half a million people didn’t take-up Universal Credit at the start of COVID-19 – and why this matters

    In a new report, we estimate that in July/August 2020, about half a million people were eligible for Universal Credit (UC) but didn’t claim it. While the headlines are all about the numbers involved, I here want to deal directly with the argument that we don’t need to worry about non-take-up. Not only does it […]

  • The effects of information about inequality in different countries

    There’s been a surge of research seeing if we can change people’s beliefs by telling them the truth about inequality (as we’ve blogged about on the blog several times before). Understanding what’s going on here is tricky, and I was intrigued by a new paper by Jonathan Mijs that adds a further challenge here: that […]

  • On being more like John Hills

    John Hills – a titan of British social policy, and my old PhD supervisor – died just before Christmas. I wanted to write something about John, but it is hard to write in grief. I simply do not have the poetry to convey fine emotions in words; everything comes out as either a bland list […]

  • Data on the social impact of COVID-19

    Social data and analysis are not the most important issues at the moment (to put it mildly!), but for those of us who aren’t key workers, this is where we can contribute. And data are genuinely important: good decision-making and political accountability require an understanding of the social consequences of the pandemic, the effectiveness of […]

  • Child poverty and perceptions: a response

    This is a guest post by Lizzie Flew – who works for the Child Poverty Action Group (CPAG) – in response to Elizabeth Clery’s blog post here. In a blog for Inequalities, Elizabeth Clery argues that trends in poverty have remained stable while public perceptions that there is ‘quite a lot’ of poverty (as measured […]

  • Has Amber Rudd fixed the DWP’s disability assessments?

    It’s been a while since a DWP Secretary of State made a major speech on disability assessments – and given the WCA’s continuing failures (not to mention those of PIP), we should be grateful that Amber Rudd has devoted her speech to it today. Her announcement has been mainly positively received so far (at least […]

  • Does the new poverty measure fully capture disability poverty?

    In recent years, we have seen fierce political battles over what poverty is, and the best way of measuring it. The Social Metrics Commission (SMC) is therefore a brave venture – to get a politically diverse group of people to agree how poverty should be measured in the UK, led by one of Iain Duncan Smith’s former […]

  • Is truth-seeking inherently conservative?

    Howard Becker’s 1967 ‘Whose Side Are We On?’ is one of the most famous papers in Sociology – a staple reading for generations of undergraduates, and still the subject of argument between academic sociologists about what Becker actually meant. Yet I have just discovered (thanks to Alistair Leitch at Oxford) a later 1973 paper by […]