Tax and benefits

The UK’s tax and benefits system has a major effect on economic and social well-being. We want to understand the degree to which the tax and benefit system provides insurance and security over people’s lifetimes and to identify ways it could deliver fairer outcomes.

Our tax and benefits research explores the role of the UK’s system in relation to the risks that people face across the course of their lives. This holistic approach enables us to make the connections between early-life disadvantage, education, training, employment, and welfare in later life.

We want to understand how the tax and benefits system affects people’s choices in relation to work, education and personal finances. Our tax and benefits research also explores the characteristics of a system that could be considered fair and equitable, and the changes needed to deliver that.


Our team

  • Alex Beer
    Senior Consultant, Welfare
  • Programme Head, Welfare

  • Mark-Franks-Nuffield-Foundation-Together-alone-connecting-individual-and-collective-well-being-through-our-work-in-welfare
    Director, Welfare

Our impact in tax and benefits

  • Improved scrutiny of government proposals for tax and benefit reform is now possible thanks to the first transparent, free-to-access tax and benefit microsimulation model for the UK, Developed by the Institute of Social and Economic Research at the University of Essex, UKMOD will facilitate greater evidence-based, public debate about personal taxes, the design of the welfare system and inequality in the UK.

  • The Mirrlees Review of taxation has had significant impact on tax and welfare policy in the UK and internationally. The Review’s recommendations for reforming the tax system influenced the launch of a Treasury Select Committee inquiry into the principles of tax policy and its subsequent Principles of Tax Policy report and the Welfare Reform Act 2012.

  • We fund the annual IFS Green Budget, which provides independent scrutiny of the public finances and the options available to the Chancellor in the run-up to the Budget. The Green Budget stimulates public debate and engages people on the tax and spending decisions that will affect their daily lives.

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We aim to improve people’s lives by funding research that informs social policy, primarily in Education, Welfare and Justice. We also fund student programmes that give young people skills and confidence in science and research.

We are an open, collaborative and engaged funder that offers more than money. Through connecting the individual projects we fund, we strengthen their collective impact and give voice to an overarching narrative.