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Keywords:

  • Universal Credit;
  • wage top-ups;
  • labour market;
  • precariat;
  • decent work;
  • ethics

Universal Credit is a proposed means-tested cash benefit scheme in the UK that will serve, inter alia, to top-up the wages of low-paid workers. This article will argue first, that the moral justification for the scheme that is offered by the UK government is specious; second that the reconfiguration of existing wage top-ups may be counterproductive and will in any event do little, if anything, to promote the work ethic; third, that the new scheme will not relieve but add to the injustices borne by the ‘precariat’ (the workers engaged in low-paid precarious employment); finally, that far from having a justifiable moral purpose, Universal Credit is ethically flawed.