'The Impact of Universal Credit rollout on homelessness in Local Authorities in Scotland and England'

Lead Research Organisation: University of Glasgow
Department Name: School of Social & Political Sciences


'The Impact of Universal Credit rollout on Homelessness in Scottish Local Authorities' Welfare systems can have a profound impact upon the prevalence, nature and causes of homelessness in a country. 'Liberal' welfare regimes that produce higher levels of poverty inequality tend to have a greater homelessness prevalence that occurs structurally. Conversely, 'social democratic' welfare regimes that produce low levels of poverty and inequality tend to have a lower homelessness prevalence and those who are homeless tend to be so due to complex personal problems (e.g. mental illness and/or addiction) rather than structural causes. Universal Credit is the UK government's flagship welfare reform of the decade and has been describes as the welfare system's 'most radical shake up for 60 years'. With its 'ubiquitous conditionality', Universal Credit arguably epitomises the UK's punitive 'activation turn', and takes the shift to a 'liberal' welfare regime further than ever before. There are concerns that the introduction of Universal Credit will drive up homelessness due to 1) long wait periods, 2) increased conditionality, 3) monthly direct payments, 4) changes to benefit generosity, 5) payment into a single bank account, and 6) unwillingness of private landlords to let to Universal Credit claimants. This PhD study seeks to assess the impact of Universal Credit rollout on homelessness assistance need in Scottish Local Authorities. Cross-area fixed effects regression models will be used on monthly Local Authority homelessness statistics (2012-2018) to evaluate associations between Universal Credit rollout and statutory homelessness rates, housing options approach rates, the cited reasons for homelessness applications and the characteristics of homelessness applicants.


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Studentship Projects

Project Reference Relationship Related To Start End Student Name
ES/P000681/1 01/10/2017 30/09/2027
1944399 Studentship ES/P000681/1 01/10/2017 28/02/2021 Iain Hardie