Minimum Income Standards
A Minimum Income Standard for the United Kingdom is a major programme of work regularly reporting on how much income households need to afford an acceptable standard of living. Developed between 2006-2008, in collaboration with the Family Budget Unit at the University of York, this programme is now carried out fully by CRSP, with on-going funding from the Joseph Rowntree Foundation.
MIS is updated annually, at least with inflation, with new research every two years ensuring that it reflects changing social norms.
The impact of MIS has been wide-ranging. It is used frequently in policy debate and analysis and at a more practical level by some charities to target financial support. MIS forms the basis for setting the Living Wage, endorsed by the Living Wage Foundation and adopted widely by public, private and voluntary bodies.
As well as calculating MIS levels for the UK as a whole, CRSP has done the same for rural areas in England and remote parts of Scotland, and for Northern Ireland. It has also explored whether environmental considerations may affect social definitions of a minimum, and whether older pensioners have different minimum income requirements from younger ones.
A growing number of countries are using the MIS method, as developed in the UK, to carry out similar studies, or are considering doing so. Researchers in the Republic of Ireland have carried out several studies, and teams in France, Japan and Portugal are currently undertaking programmes of research modelled on MIS. CRSP has also carried out A minimum income standard for Guernsey.
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