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Should adult benefit for unemployment now be raised?

With unemployment rising steadily for the first time since the early 1990s, the adequacy of JSA (the social security benefit paid to people who are unemployed and looking for work) is a matter of acute importance. Taking account of inflation, its value has not changed in thirty years. The report covers three main questions: what JSA is worth, and why – a comparison of JSA against various measures, and a review of its progress over the 60 years of the Welfare State; why increase JSA – an examination of the case for (such as social security, anti-poverty) and against (including disincentives to work) increasing JSA; whether the recession alters the argument – and if so, how far it is supported by the evidence.

Peter Kenway
Joseph Rowntree Foundation