Centre for Research in Social Policy

School of Social, Political and Geographical Sciences

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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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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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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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It’s tough down south – Is it time to revive London weighting?

When I started my working life in London in the 1980s, there was some concept that London Weighting was a standard entitlement at a standard level that broadly reflected the additional cost of living in the capital city. Today, it’s become a patchy entitlement at all sorts of levels, but generally not coming close to […]

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The new National Living Wage marks a turning point in policy for low income working families

Today (1 April) sees the introduction of the National Living Wage (NLW): a compulsory £7.20 an hour for over-25s. Some see this as little more than a clever piece of branding by George Osborne a supplement to the National Minimum Wage (NMW), initially set at 50p an hour.  Its level today falls well short of […]

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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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Three messages for worse-off families in 2020: don’t be a lone parent, don’t have too many children, and do work all hours

The present government has rightly drawn attention to the fact that people will be at lower risk of poverty if they work, have two parents and do not have many children. However, the translation of these realities into “behaviourist” policies – incentives to conform to certain family norms – started out more tentatively than one […]

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A statutory ‘living wage’ will be widely welcomed but does not stem the slide in living standards for many low income families

George Osborne today took the biggest step forward since the introduction of the National Minimum Wage (NMW) in 1999 to commit the government to tackling low pay. His announcement of a “Living Wage” of £7.20, rising to £9 by 2020, was more than just a rebranding and raising of the NMW. Crucially, it was an […]

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