Centre for Research in Social Policy

School of Social, Political and Geographical Sciences


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“For there is in London all that life can afford” (Samuel Johnson) … if you can afford London life.

While many costs associated with living in London are similar to the rest of the UK, a minimum decent standard of living is substantially more expensive in the capital. There is a long held view that life costs more in London. This view is not just confined to the usual suspects of housing, childcare and […]

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Higher costs or higher expectations: Are Londoners simply spoilt?

Our research into a Minimum Income Standard for London found that a decent standard of living costs up to 50 per cent more in London than it does elsewhere in the country. These figures are based on a comparison of what groups of people in London and in other urban areas of the UK have […]

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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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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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The ideal and realities of a citizen’s income

Debate about a basic income paid to every citizen needs to confront important choices about what kind of social support we are willing to pay for The apparent popularity of the idea of a citizen’s income feels rather baffling when set against other indicators of public opinion.  If we believe the British Social Attitudes Survey, […]


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What price a decent life in London?

This week, billboards across the capital displayed quotes illustrating some of the personal stories underlying the quantitative patterns of migration into and out of London. Many of these billboards highlighted the financial reasons that Londoners gave for leaving the capital, with reference to people’s experiences of the high costs of living in London: In addition […]

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Looking beyond the obvious: the additional costs of ‘having a life’

You only have to look at this symbol … to realise how disability and its costs are prone to stereotypes. Think about the extra costs faced by disabled people and often the first thought is of the expense (often considerable) of purchasing a wheelchair or other specialised equipment. But new research that we have just […]

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The economy may have turned the corner, but many are still struggling to make ends meet

Despite signs of economic recovery, nearly four in ten families with children are living on incomes below what they need and making up lost ground is going to take time. Recent weeks and months have seen a growing assertion that following a long period of decline, we might just have turned a corner and 2015 […]

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Employment growth does not mean a socially acceptable standard of living for many young adults

At the end of 2014, we learned that joblessness in the UK reached its lowest since the beginning of the financial crisis of 2008.   According to the ONS, unemployment is now 6 per cent, having reached its peak at 8 per cent in 2009. This seems to be good news, especially for young adults who […]

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Two cheers for low inflation

Low inflation is better news than it used to be for people on low incomes Today’s record-equalling increase of half a per cent in the Consumer Prices Index is short-term good news for the great majority of people in the UK, who have seen prices rising faster than their incomes in recent years. It increases […]

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