The impact of welfare reforms and welfare to work programmes: a literature review

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Summary & aims

The objective of this research is to improve the evidence base of the equality and human rights implications of recent and proposed welfare reforms and government spending decisions since 2010. It is exploring the impact on different protected groups and individuals within those groups, including according to age, disability, gender reassignment, marriage and civil partnership, pregnancy and maternity, race, religion or belief, sex and sexual orientation. The project forms part of a wider EHRC programme of work, which also includes an interlinked cumulutative impact assessment of the reforms.



This research was undertaken in two stages. The first stage consisted of a systematic literature review to establish the current evidence base. In the second stage, we interviewed selected stakeholders and organised a workshop for academic and policy experts, with the aim of exploring and testing emerging hypotheses, as well as receiving external feedback on sources of evidence.

Timescale and funder

The evaluation is funded by the Equality and Human Rights Commission (EHRC). It began in June 2017 and was published in March 2018.


Opinion piece:

Government ‘analysis’ on equality impacts flawed, but that is no excuse not to act, NIESR blog by Johnny Runge


Private: Johnny Runge
Principal Social Researcher


Private: Johnny Runge
Principal Social Researcher