Centre for Research in Social Policy

School of Social, Political and Geographical Sciences

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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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An autumn statement that only just about managed to distribute some jam

Both the tone and content of Philip Hammond’s first budgetary statement belied the mood music of the past few weeks: that Theresa May’s government will do much more to help just about managing families – dubbed the “JAMs”. It continued in a modest way some policies of its predecessor: freezing fuel duty; promising more social […]

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Will low income families’ ability to afford the necessities of life stop declining?

The mood music on welfare cuts may finally be changing. The new Work and Pensions Secretary Damian Green has explicitly sought to distance himself from the stance of the past six years by stating that there ‘will be no new search for cuts in individual welfare benefits’.  The cuts of the past few years have […]

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Ten years of parenting – a perspective on what children need

I’ve spent much of the last 10 years listening to parents discussing what they think children need.  Our Minimum Income Standards research regularly asks groups of parents to agree what is required in a family budget for a minimum acceptable standard of living .  As both a researcher and a parent it’s been fascinating to […]

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Bringing up a family on a low income involves chances and choices

Campaigners seeking to draw attention to the worst effects of hard times on family poverty rightly cite the growing use of food banks to illustrate severe deprivation in the UK. But while about 200,000 children were in families using foodbanks last year, about 30 times this number – six million children – were on low […]

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Facing up to the realities of a citizen’s income

Like many very simple ideas, a ‘Citizen’s Income’ only becomes complicated when you think through its implications.  This fact at least was illuminated in a worthwhile debate I had on Radio 4 Moneybox with some of CI’s advocates. The idea of a Citizen’s Income is that a single, unconditional flat-rate payment for each adult and […]

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Up a bit or down a bit, living standards are in the doldrums, and have fallen for many worse-off families

In his budget, George Osborne stated that the average household is now enjoying higher living standards than in 2010.  Labour disputes this, saying that this is the first election since the 1920s when living standards are lower than the previous one.  These statements sound like polar opposites, but in fact, there is not a lot […]

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