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The most significant welfare reform of the last ten years has been the introduction of Universal Credit (UC) – a means-tested benefit which is in the process of replacing six existing benefits and tax credits for working age households. The benefit is available to those who are in work on low incomes, as well as those who are unemployed or whose capability for work is limited by sickness or disability.

Universal Credit was introduced by the Coalition Government from 2013 to simplify and streamline the benefits system, improve incentives for work, tackle poverty, and reduce fraud and error. It is administered by the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) and has been available in every part of the UK since December 2018. Currently, it’s the only option for any working-age individual or family wishing to apply for a means-tested benefit.

For more than a decade, the principles, design, implementation, and claimant experiences of Universal Credit have been subjects of high-profile public and political debate. This reading list covers Universal Credit from early debates through to April 2021. It includes selected Commons Library briefing papers, Select Committee reports, as well as research from think tanks, campaigning charities, and other expert commentators.

This reading list is not intended to be comprehensive.

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