Take-up of benefits and poverty: an evidence and policy review

The Joseph Rowntree Foundation (JRF) commissioned a series of literature reviews in 2013 to provide a comprehensive and robust evidence base to inform the development of anti-poverty strategies for the UK. Inclusion’s associate director Dan Finn lead a review of research literature concerning non-take up of income related benefits and tax credits, and the impact of strategies and interventions designed to improve take-up rates.

Benefit take up in the UK
According to research undertaken by the New Policy Institute for the JRF, almost a third of eligible people in the UK in 2009-10 were not claiming the means-tested benefits they were entitled to. Just over half of the estimated £10 billion unclaimed benefits could have been claimed by working age families. Just over half of the estimated £10 billion unclaimed benefits could have been claimed by working age families. Despite service delivery reforms and the progress made in reducing pensioner and child poverty, take-up rates for most income-related benefits declined in the decade to 2009-10. Take-up of tax credits increased after 2003-04 but in 2011-12 H.M. Revenue & Customs still estimated that £3.29 billion in Working Tax Credit and £1.19 billion in Child Tax Credits went unclaimed.