The demise of tax credits

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Introduced in the late 1990s, tax credits grew under successive Labour governments to become a cornerstone of UK social policy. Distinguished from traditional welfare policies by their target group and their mode of administration, and with goals that appeared capable of commanding support across the ideological spectrum, tax credits until recently seemed to hold the key to tackling poverty in a politically popular manner. But since 2010 the tax credit system has been systematically dismantled, initially qualitatively and latterly also quantitatively. This paper discusses the multiple factors that help to explain the rapid fall from grace in the UK of this liberal approach to supporting the incomes of poor working households.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)493-499
Number of pages7
JournalPolitical Quarterly
Issue number4
Early online date10 Oct 2015
Publication statusPublished - Oct 2015


  • tax credits
  • Universal Credit
  • Make Work Pay
  • working poor
  • welfare reform

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