The Chartered Institute of Housing has just published an occasional paper I wrote for them about options for future social security policy; you can find a copy here.
My conclusions, from the summary, are these:
- Benefits are complicated because they are trying to do lots of things, for lots of people, for lots of different reasons. Over-simplification and cutting corners can hurt people.
- One rule is not good for everyone. The best provision is usually made in mixed systems.
- Sometimes direct provision is better than offering money.
- People need stable, secure, predictable incomes. Personalisation is not always a good thing.
- Change is difficult, and people can get hurt. Everything has to be done carefully.