The impacts of welfare reform on residents in Tower Hamlets

Inclusion was commissioned by Tower Hamlets Council to assess the impacts of welfare reforms on residents. The research was conducted between February and April 2014, and comprised 35 in-depth interviews with residents, twelve interviews and four workshops with the Council and their partners, and extensive analysis of national and local data on the impacts of reform (including Council data).

The report finds that the financial impacts of reform in Tower Hamlets are among the top 10% nationwide, with 40,600 households seeing their incomes reduced as a result of welfare reform by on average £1,670 per year. Impacts were most pronounced for disabled people, lone parent households and families in the private rented sector. As well as significant financial impacts – with residents going without, borrowing money and not paying bills – the research also found significant impacts on health and wellbeing, children’s education and family relationships.

The report makes recommendations in four areas: identifying those at risk; engaging effectively; co-ordinating support and targeting delivery.