The 1986 Social Security Act’s changes to means-tested benefits came into force in April 1990. Their aims were to meet a genuine need, to control spending, to provide a simpler harmonized structure, to improve administration, to target benefits more towards families with children and to improve incentives to work and save. The Act also changed provisions of the State Earnings Related Pension Scheme and of Widows Benefits but this research deals only with changes to means-tested benefits. The main changes were:
Spending on means-tested benefits fell by 6% but remained at 29% of all social security in 1990-97. The main changes in cost were:
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