Centre for Research in Social Policy

School of Social, Political and Geographical Sciences

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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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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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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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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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Will a £9 National Living Wage promise be sustained?

The trouble with long-term political pledges is that they often get taken over by short-term economic swings. Last July, most of us were rather stunned by George Osborne’s pledge of a £9 ‘National Living Wage’ by 2020.  This figure was not quite plucked out of thin air: it’s based on the aim of setting it […]

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