Friends, Families and Travellers report: Fairer for all?

‘The lack of consideration of Gypsies and Travellers in the rollout of Universal Credit will have a major impact in the lives of our society’s most vulnerable groups.’

Friends Families and Travellers have published a May 2018 statement on the negative and disproportionate impact of Universal Credit on Gypsy and Traveller communities.

The report states that th key issues are:

  • Gypsies and Travellers were not considered in the 2011 Equality Impact Assessment for the implementation of Universal Credit.
  •  The move to an online system for Universal Credit has exacerbated barriers to accessing welfare support for Gypsy and Traveller communities, because of low levels of numeracy, literacy and access to the internet.
  • “Alternative access routes” which are meant to support people with low levels of numeracy, literacy or no access to the internet are not working.
  • Universal Credit will have a negative impact on self-employed people, which constitute 26 per cent of Gypsies and Travellers in England and Wales.

It recommends that the Department for Work and Pensions should:

  • undertake an equality impact assessment on the impact of Universal Credit on Gypsy and Traveller communities and take actions to mitigate issues identified;
  • ensure that ‘alternative access routes’ are established for people with low literacy, low numeracy and limited access to internet as a matter of urgency.
  • Should establish national guidelines for front line workers to exercise discretion in designing work requirements for self-employed people;
  • ensure that sanctions are not imposed on people who cannot meet Universal Credit requirements due to low literacy, low numeracy and limited access to internet;
  • review the impact of Universal Credit on self- employed people, in particular the impact on self-employed Gypsies and Travellers. 

Read the report in full (pdf).