Investigating Attitudes Towards Aspects of Welfare Reform by Stephen McMurray
There has been an increasing political focus on the issue of benefit sanctions and their impact since the election of Jeremy Corbyn as the leader of the Labour Party and the success of Ken Loach’s film I, Daniel Blake. There have been significant changes in recent years to the UK welfare system implemented by the UK Government in London.
There have been increasing use of private companies to provide services to get people who are unemployed and claiming certain benefits – Jobseekers Allowance (JSA) and Employment and Support Allowance (ESA) for people with disabilities into work.
Traditionally, support with job-seeking activities, such as CV development, job searching and interview skills was solely undertaken by the Jobcentre. However, in the past few years these activities have been increasingly outsourced to large private sector firms and generally smaller not-for-profit organisations.
Furthermore, there have been an increasing use of psychological interventions in services to get people who are unemployed into work. This can include appointments with an Occupational Psychologist, psychological testing, attending a motivational workshop, and undergoing Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT).
The British Social Attitudes Survey indicates a hardening of public attitudes towards welfare recipients, though this may have lessened recently. There appears to be very little research into attitudes towards the use of psychology in services aimed at getting the unemployed into work and the benefit claimants participation in such psychological interventions under a threat of a sanction.
This research aims to fill this gap. Please take part in the survey and help the develop the research. Stephen McMurray is a Psychology student with the Open University and this project is part of his BSc Psychology degree. You can access the survey here: