Introduction of UC linked to increase in psychological distress

Research shows that the introduction of Universal Credit in the UK has led to a marked increase in psychological distress amongst those affected by the policy.

Carried out by the University of Liverpool, the study found that the introduction of Universal Credit led to an additional seven people experiencing psychological distress for every 100 people affected by the policy – approximately 64,000 people experiencing psychological distress between 2013 and 2018 due to the introduction of Universal Credit.

Universal Credit replaced six welfare benefits covering housing and living costs for people facing adversity, such as unemployment, disabilities, and low paid employment. By the end of 2018, all parts of the UK had introduced Universal Credit for unemployed people and 1.6 million people were on Universal Credit.

Professor Ben Barr said: “Introducing new welfare schemes can have a major impact on mental health and this study has shown how Universal Credit has increased mental health problems. This and other evidence of the adverse impact of Universal Credit adds to the growing calls for it to be scrapped or radically reformed.”