This quantitative research looked at the views and attitudes to work, budgeting and internet use among a representative sample of benefit units receiving working age benefits and tax credits who would be impacted by the transition to Universal Credit. The survey fieldwork took place between June and August 2011 and involved 5,529 individuals in 4,315 households (including 1,249 interviews with the partners of main claimants). The sample was randomly selected from Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) and Her Majesty’s Revenue and Customs (HMRC) claimant databases and covered Great Britain.
The research was commissioned to help DWP implement Universal Credit by providing detailed information on views and attitudes to work, internet use and budgeting skills among a representative sample of claimants who would be impacted by the transition to Universal Credit. These topics were chosen because work-related requirements will be extended under Universal Credit, and will depend on the particular circumstances of individual claimants. Also, Universal Credit will be paid as a single, monthly household payment and claims will be made online.
The survey has identified a range of distinct attitudes to work and the Department will use this information to help improve and target our services to help Universal Credit claimants increase their work readiness and/or levels of work. The results show that 78% of those surveyed already use the internet - we will use the findings to inform our approach to encouraging and supporting claimants to use the online service. The findings also indicate that most respondents would be comfortable moving to a single, household payment. The concept of a monthly payment causes more concern, but we want to help claimants to manage their finances in preparation for taking on (more) work. We will use the findings to inform our approach to promoting financial capability and to develop appropriate and tailored support for extremely vulnerable claimants.
The research will also inform communications surrounding transition to Universal Credit and the development of appropriate strategies for differently affected customer groups.