"We're all in it together..."
A new study by researchers at Sheffield Hallam University has shown the impact of welfare reform on households and communities in different areas of Sheffield
- · Study of Sheffield residents shows that some local communities are hit five times harder than others
- · Almost half the financial losses falls on working households
- · Couples with children losing an average of nearly £1,700 a year
- · Lone parents losing more than £2,000 a year
- · Men and women with health problems or disabilities are also significantly disadvantaged
The welfare reforms under way across Britain are laid bare in a new study that for the first time documents the total impact on different types of households and communities.
The study, commissioned by Sheffield City Council and carried out by Professors Christina Beatty and Steve Fothergill, looks in detail at the impact of the welfare reforms on Sheffield.
Overall, they estimate the city will lose nearly £170m a year in benefit income when the reforms have come to full fruition. This is equivalent to £460 a year for every adult of working age in the city.
The new report shows that within Sheffield, some local communities are hit far harder than others.
In the worst-hit ward in Sheffield – Firth Park – one of the most deprived areas of the city - the average resident of working age can expect to lose five times as much as residents in the least affected part of the city – Broomhill, a more affluent area with a high student population.
Households with dependent children, and especially lone parents, face some of the largest financial losses.
They often lose out from reductions in tax credits, lower entitlement to housing benefit, changes to council tax benefit and below-inflation benefit increases, including child benefit.
Many men and women with health problems or disabilities lose out badly from more restrictive eligibility for Employment and Support Allowance (the new incapacity benefit) and Personal Independence Payments (the replacement for Disability Living Allowance). A large part of these welfare cuts is still in the pipeline.
Professor Beatty said “In a report published last year, we were the first to expose the uneven impact of the welfare reforms on different local authority areas up and down the country. The new report, which drills down to a previously undisclosed level of detail, shows just how much the differences also apply at the local level, between local communities.”
Professor Fothergill added: “The impact of the welfare reforms within Sheffield is probably a good guide to what is happening in lots of other cities and towns. Although the loss of benefit income in Sheffield is frighteningly large, on a per capita basis it is actually not far off the national average.
"The financial losses in Sheffield are never the less far greater than in the coalition government's political heartlands in southern England."
Sheffield City Council Leader, Councillor Julie Dore, said: “We’ve known for a long time that the welfare reforms are fuelling inequality across the city, with the poorest places, poorest households and the sick and disabled being hardest hit. This research is truly shocking but reaffirms this and shows the stark reality of how the reforms are affecting people.
"The report also shows how in Sheffield almost half the financial losses arising from welfare reform are falling on in-work households. So many of these are hard-working families on low or middling incomes.
“We will be sharing this research widely with partners and organisations across Sheffield. It’s a priority for me that we work together as a city to identify ways to help reduce the inequalities and protect the most vulnerable people.”
For the full report: