Centre for Research in Social Policy

School of Social, Political and Geographical Sciences

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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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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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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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Is a compulsory “real” living wage really a good idea?

British political attitudes to compulsory minimum wages have undergone an astounding transformation. A generation ago, any sort of minimum was viewed with suspicion not just by free-market economists but also by many in the labour movement. The former argued that unaffordable wages would cost jobs. The latter knew that negotiation through collective bargaining had a […]

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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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“Working 9 to 5, what a way to make a living, barely getting by …”

Record rates of employment and small increases in pay have not halted the increase in the number of those in work living on incomes below what they need, particularly working families with children. In recent years the phrase ‘hard-working families’ has figured prominently both in defining and defending ‘difficult’ policy decisions. The programme of welfare […]

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The cost of living with sight loss is higher not just if it’s more severe but also if you’re older

Our previous study for Thomas Pocklington Trust began to look at the extra costs of living at a minimum acceptable standard for people with sight loss.  It showed how for people of working age, being sight impaired adds around £49 to a minimum weekly budget.  This result was for the case of someone eligible to […]

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Next time, George, just read my tweets and blogs sooner

I’m not usually one to say I told you so, but it just occurred to me that George Osborne could have saved himself a lot of trouble this year if he’d just paid more attention to my tweets and blogs. In June, two weeks before the summer Budget, as rumours were building that tax credits […]

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Relying on the market to cover all family costs will end in misery

Since the election, an important debate has opened up over how far state benefits should be underpinning family living standards.  The government is clearly trying to reduce what it sees as unnecessary dependency, including for families in low-paid work.  It has approached this from multiple angles.  Significantly higher minimum wages and tax allowances will increase […]

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