Centre for Research in Social Policy

School of Social, Political and Geographical Sciences

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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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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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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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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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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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What next for George Osborne’s mission to reduce family dependency?

George Osborne’s scrapping of the tax credit cuts announced last summer is momentous in several ways. But it is by no means the end of his mission to reduce families’ dependence on the state. First and foremost, the changes save millions of badly-off working families from some drastic reductions in their incomes next April, typically […]

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Incomes improve against MIS: a welcome but brief respite

Zero inflation is great news these days for low income families.  This is because more and more government policies affecting income are being set without regard to the inflation rate.  If you work on the minimum wage, you can expect your pay to rise 23 per cent and tax allowance 18 per cent by 2020 […]

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Why the ‘welfare merry-go-round’ is just spin

We pay taxes for the NHS in case we need healthcare – why should welfare be any different? In its search for justifications for saving money on welfare, the government has placed much emphasis on limiting out-of-work benefits in order to avoid perverse incentives. But cutting the welfare cap only produces around 1 per cent […]

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Good news on support for childcare could be made better with a bit of imagination and very little cost

An unsung success of government policy in recent years has been a great expansion in support for childcare, which has certainly helped more low income parents to work.  It’s easy to forget that twenty years ago there was virtually no such help, and this helps explain why parental employment remained much more resilient in the […]

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