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Universal credit has increased crime rate

The study corelates with findings across the Europe and America that restrictive social security increases crime

A new study conducted by researchers at University College London has shown that the Universal Credit benefits system has contributed to an increase in crime.

The study has suggested that Universal Credit, which requires more eligibility conditions than it's predecessors, has led to a "6.5 per cent increase in crime during the five-year period we look at, 2013-2018".

These findings have been published in the British Journal of Criminology and the researchers have said that there is now "salient and plausible evidence linking UC to an increase in recorded crime".

It added: "While it is impossible to comprehensively prove causation from a single, observational study, our results provide salient and plausible evidence linking UC to an increase in recorded crime.

"Not only does the crime rate increase as the number of claimants rises, but the introduction of UC to each area also coincides with a shift in the long run trend in crime."

Included in the study was a variety of controlled factors including the cuts to police officers, cuts to local services, and the fluctuations in the economic situation.

These findings corelate with others outside of the UK including in America where it displays how the less generous the social security system, the higher the crime rate.

The recent studies across the United States from the National Bureau of Economic Research revealed that the benefit cuts across the Atlantic had significantly increased the chance of people ending up in the criminal justice system.

Closer to home in 2020, even the House of Lords Economic Affairs committee said via a report that Universal Credit "has features that are harming many, particularly the most vulnerable".

With the cost of living crisis affecting families across the country, the economic power and control families are losing appears to be having detrimental affects across many aspects of life.

Despite this, in response to the findings on the links between crime and Universal Credit, the Department for Work and Pensions have denied the evidence:

A government spokesperson said: “There is no evidence Universal Credit causes crime and the report’s authors themselves acknowledge it is impossible to prove the cause of criminal behaviour from a single, observational study.

“Universal Credit provides a strong financial safety net: it is more generous overall than the old system and makes it easier for people to claim support they are entitled to.”


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