Will the pandemic change the welfare state for good?

Annabel Denham writes for The Spectator

In an op-ed for The Spectator, IEA Director of Communications, Annabel Denham, highlighted that Covid has exposed some weaknesses with the UK’s welfare safety-net, mainly Universal Credit (UC). Although UC has incentivised people to work with automatic tapers on increased income, the five week wait for payment means many have struggled to get by during the pandemic.

Annabel also addressed the rhetoric around pay, suggesting calls for businesses to pay wages that allow people to live an ‘appropriate lifestyle’ ignores basic economics.

Annabel said: “Upheavals in welfare policy have historically followed major crises such as wars, civil unrest, recessions and pandemics – the Ministry of Health itself was established in 1919. The experience of the second world war led to the creation of the contemporary welfare state. If a course of action (a furlough scheme, say) is pursued in an emergency, we know it is possible. Keep the measure in place too long and it can swiftly become an accepted norm — and politically awkward to unwind“.

Read the full article here.