Concept testing the migration of tax credits customers to Universal Credit

This report presents the findings from the qualitative research carried out by Ipsos MORI on behalf of HMRC. The report explores how tax credit customers would react to a possible managed migration journey and what support they would potentially need.

The author(s)

  • Katrina Leary Ipsos Public Affairs, UK
  • Ellie Thompson Ipsos Public Affairs, UK
  • Theebika Shanmugarasa Ipsos Public Affairs, UK
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Universal Credit (UC) is a key element of the government’s Welfare Reform Agenda; replacing six benefits, including Working Tax Credits and Child Tax Credit, with one claim which is paid monthly in arrears and managed online.

The rolling out of the full digital service of Universal Credit  to all areas of the country was completed on 12 December 2018 for new claims or for people having to make a new claim due to a change of circumstance.

The government plans to start transferring a few people from the existing benefits or tax credits onto Universal Credit from July 2019. This process is known as managed migration.  The government plans to complete managed migration by December 2023.

Ipsos MORI was commissioned to carry out this research on the managed migration process to understand tax credit customers’ information and support needs as well as concerns and likely behaviours during migration.

Findings from this research show that early communication about the impact of UC on customers’ incomes was seen as vital. They were concerned about the financial impact of UC; and wanted as much information as possible on this.

Technical note

  • Ipsos MORI carried out 36 face-to-face interviews with current tax credits customers, covering a broad range of customer types including: type of tax credits claimed, length of tax credits claim, other UC-related benefits
  • The in-depth interviews took place between 25th January and 20th February 2017 across London, Glasgow, Newport and Manchester
  • 4 mini-group discussions were also carried out with specific types of tax credit customers: those who claimed tax credits only; those who claimed tax credits and at least another UC related benefits; those who worked part-time and those were self-employed
  • The mini-groups took place on 15th and 16th February 2017 in London and Manchester.
  • Semi-structured discussion guides were used in the interviews and mini-groups.
  • Given the qualitative nature of this research and the small sample size, findings cannot be considered representative of the views of tax credits customers or specific types of customers; instead the research has been designed to explore the breadth of views and experiences.

The author(s)

  • Katrina Leary Ipsos Public Affairs, UK
  • Ellie Thompson Ipsos Public Affairs, UK
  • Theebika Shanmugarasa Ipsos Public Affairs, UK

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