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Mind the gaps: Universal Credit and self-employment in the United Kingdom

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Self-employment in the United Kingdom rose steadily until 2017, as part of wider changes in labour markets towards more flexible and potentially more vulnerable forms of employment. At the same time, welfare reform has continued under the current and previous governments, with a further expansion of conditionality with respect to benefit recipients. The incremental introduction of Universal Credit is likely to intensify the subjection of vulnerable categories of the self-employed to welfare conditionalities and to thus accentuate the ambivalent nature of self-employment. This article analyses the impact of Universal Credit on the self-employed by first discussing elements of precarity faced by the self-employed, and, second, by exploring the consequences of the roll-out of Universal Credit for those self-employed people who are reliant on the social protection system.
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Keywords: Universal Credit; conditionality; self-employment; social protection

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: University of York, UK

Publication date: June 2019

This article was made available online on May 24, 2019 as a Fast Track article with title: "Mind the gaps: Universal Credit and self-employment in the United Kingdom".

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