Universal Credit: Inside the Welfare State on BBC2 – everything you need to know

The documentary offers a look at the benefits system from both sides

Programme Name: Universal Credit: Inside the Welfare State - TX: n/a - Episode: Inside Britain’s Benefit Revolution - Ep 1 - Peckham (No. 1) - Picture Shows: Front of house staff member from Peckham Job centre. Standing in the middle of the job centre. Main character. Karen.  - (C) BBC - Photographer: Peter Flude

One of the current Conservative government’s most controversial policies, Universal Credit, is to be the subject of a new BBC documentary.

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The series will look at cases in Peckham, Liverpool and Bolton from the perspective of government employees and those relying on the benefits system.

Here’s everything you need to know about Universal Credit: Inside the Welfare State…

What is Universal Credit: Inside the Welfare State about?

The documentary explores Universal Credit from the point of view of both government employees and those who rely on the controversial benefits system to support themselves. The final episode comes from Bolton, which has unusually high levels of unemployment for people between 18 and 25.

Jenny is a waitress on a zero hour contract who finds it very difficult to predict how much money she will have to live off at any given time. Plus, new claimant Paula is given an advance payment to ease her through the five-week transition period to universal credit, but finds herself struggling to pay it back and live on her monthly payments.

Is there a review for Universal Credit: Inside the Welfare State?

Radio Times critic Jane Rackham had this to say about the programme:

Jenny, a bubbly 20-year-old from Bolton, wants “a proper job” but her zero-hours waitress contract means her monthly wages vary enormously while her Universal Credit fluctuates too. No wonder she doesn’t know whether she’s coming or going.

Paula, 34, has recently moved onto UC but because it’s paid in arrears needs an advance. The temptation to treat herself and her daughter proves too much though and she gets into debt, ending up at food banks. Meanwhile civil servant Neil Couling continues trying to roll out the new system. It’s depressing viewing but this series has given an insight into the difficulties – on all sides.

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When is Universal Credit: Inside the Welfare State on TV?

The documentary concludes on BBC Two at 9pm on Tuesday 18th February.