Centre for Research in Social Policy

School of Social, Political and Geographical Sciences


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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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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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Let’s get this straight: living wages and state support for families are complementary, not alternatives

Today, nearly 2000 accredited Living Wage employers will reiterate their commitment to pay workers a decent minimum – rising to £8.25 an hour based on CRSP’s calculations. The fact that the government’s new ‘National Living Wage’ will start at more than £1 below this in April, and has no reference to living costs, has caused […]

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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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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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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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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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