Centre for Research in Social Policy

School of Social, Political and Geographical Sciences


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I’m pleased that charities are using the Minimum Income Standard as their principal means test, but worried that they are having to fill in for failing state support

In the past couple of months, I have been talking to people in a fascinating world that most of us are at best vaguely aware of: the world of benevolent charities, who give financial help to eligible individuals in need. Many of these charities are now using our Minimum Income Standard to help them decide […]

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For the less well off half of families, budgets continue to take away, not give away

In today’s Budget, Philip Hammond repeated the mantra that the Government wants “to help families cope with the cost of living”, and even acknowledged that short term relief from the assault on living standards needs to parallel long-term investment to improve productivity and housebuilding. But he conspicuously avoided repeating previous references to “just about managing” […]

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Public policy is becoming ever more skewed in trying to focus on “deserving” groups

The evidence is piling up: most people on low incomes will have been made much worse off in the course of this decade. Most depressingly, the Institute for Fiscal Studies predicts that the child poverty rate, which saw a sustained fall in the New Labour years, from 34% to 27% after housing costs, will have […]

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#YOLO: Millennials are buying experiences but are not necessarily better off

Millennials (individuals born between 1981 and 2000) are often portrayed as living short term and therefore spending on immediate rewards – eating out, social events, travels – rather than on investing on long-term possessions, like housing. In the end, ‘YOLO – You Only Live Once’. I am a millennial; I eat out, I go to […]

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Time to start fixing the broken safety net that no longer catches struggling families

Families on low incomes are once again bearing the brunt of a tough economic environment. Over the past decade, rising costs of items such as food, energy and childcare, combined with stagnating wages and cuts in benefits, have repeatedly put a squeeze on family budgets.  Between 2014 and 2016, some of these pressures eased, as […]

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A minimum income standard has been defended by the highest court in the land

The Supreme Court’s landmark judgement abolishing fees for employment tribunals has been rightly hailed for its championing of access to justice for workers, in the context of labour laws having tilted the scales increasingly against them in recent years. It also has much wider implications, including the linking in the judgement of powerlessness at work […]

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Losing on the swings and losing on the roundabouts

The past five years have seen ups and downs for wage earners, in terms of average pay keeping up with inflation.  After dipping in the recession, real pay started to rise again in 2014.  The main beneficiaries were private sector workers, although when inflation hit zero even those affected by the 1% public sector pay […]

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London rents might be ‘falling’ for some, but a minimum decent standard of living still costs substantially more in the capital

Over the past few years, good news about housing, particularly the cost of renting in the private sector, has been in short supply. So it is little surprise that recent figures compiled by Countrywide, suggesting a fall in private rents across the UK, with a significant fall in the capital, were seized upon as representing […]

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Budget comment by Professor Donald Hirsch, Centre for Research in Social Policy, Loughborough University

Cuts in welfare were at the heart of the then Chancellor’s agenda coming into the present Parliament; two years later, not a single new measure affecting benefits was announced in this Budget. Any new welfare savings have been formally ruled out in this Parliament, with the proviso that if spending breaks a new cap, further […]

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How the extra costs of being visually impaired in older age can add up

One in five people aged over 75 experience sight loss.  This can be an upsetting experience in itself, but all the more daunting because of the additional cost that it brings to everyday life.  When your failing vision means that you have to get help cleaning your house, or use more taxis because getting the […]

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