The past week’s whirlwind of critique of Universal Credit is quite overwhelming because it brings together so many different kinds of problem, each with a large impact on the lives of low income families. Some are to do with delays people have already experienced by new claimants and the huge suffering that will cause if […]
Using the Minimum Income Standard as a criterion for fair access to justice has profound implications for its status as a national standard
Today, the Law Society is publishing my report that asks a simple question about the way people are assessed for eligibility for civil legal aid. Can those denied full legal aid because of their income afford to pay for their own legal advice and services? The criterion for considering affordability is whether such costs can […]
I’m pleased that charities are using the Minimum Income Standard as their principal means test, but worried that they are having to fill in for failing state support
In the past couple of months, I have been talking to people in a fascinating world that most of us are at best vaguely aware of: the world of benevolent charities, who give financial help to eligible individuals in need. Many of these charities are now using our Minimum Income Standard to help them decide […]
Public policy is becoming ever more skewed in trying to focus on “deserving” groups
The evidence is piling up: most people on low incomes will have been made much worse off in the course of this decade. Most depressingly, the Institute for Fiscal Studies predicts that the child poverty rate, which saw a sustained fall in the New Labour years, from 34% to 27% after housing costs, will have […]
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 […]
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 […]
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 […]