Universal credit and marginality in the smart city: scoping the health impacts of social policy transformation in London

Project: Research

Project Details


LSHTM / King’s College London Research Collaboration fund - seed funding

Layman's description

People who are homeless face challenges in accessing and maintaining Universal Credit which is having a severe impact on physical and mental wellbeing.
Groundswell, the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine and King’s College London conducted research to explore experiences of Universal Credit to understand the impact welfare reform is having for people who are homeless, and how this might affect their health.

Key findings

We found an overall challenge for people who were homeless was how Universal Credit assumes capacity that is often contradictory to the experience of homelessness. The Universal Credit system assumes capacities of spare time, computer skills, internet access, a bank account and being able to self-advocate.
Such capacities are challenging for many people, but especially those facing the multiple health and social challenges linked with homelessness. The assumption of capacity leads to specific complications around payments, sanctions and delays in payments and IT access and communication. Linked to this were difficulties in demonstrating ill-health, which could be burdensome, arbitrary, unfair, and serve to further complicate access to Universal Credit and appropriate responses to ill-health. Combined, these challenges generate the potential for severe health consequences, particularly relating to stress and anxiety, but also for how Universal Credit can undermine efforts to secure adequate housing,
food and social support that are integral to good health.
Effective start/end date1/11/181/11/19


Explore the research topics touched on by this project. These labels are generated based on the underlying awards/grants. Together they form a unique fingerprint.