News and events
Means testing or Universalism: what strategies best address poverty?
Wed, 27 Aug 2014 00:02:00 BST
This study, published today, reviews the respective roles of means-tested and universally available benefits and services in helping to reduce poverty. It was produced to inform Joseph Rowntree Foundation's anti-poverty strategy.
The study draws on a wide range of evidence from the UK and other countries, considering the effectiveness of different approaches. It shows that both means-testing and universalism have their roles in different contexts, and suggests criteria for choosing between (or combining) the two. In particular, it shows how universal support can make most sense in relation to redistribution across the life course and in establishing access to certain services, but that in times when public resources are coming up against absolute limits, there are other cases where means-testing needs to be accepted since the alternative could be serious shortfalls in access to required resources for lower income groups.
Cost of a child in the UK in 2014
Tue, 12 Aug 2014 00:02:00 BST
The latest annual update of calculations of the additional cost of bringing up a child, based on the Minimum Income Standard, show that it now costs £154,000 to bring up a child, up 8 per cent since 2012. The cost of childcare and other expenses have been rising more rapidly than family incomes. As a consequence, families both in low-paid jobs and out of work are falling short of affording a minimum living standard, by a growing amount. The cap on uprating benefits and tax credits is systematically increasing this shortfall.
CRSP Director joins inquiry on disabled people's costs
Mon, 28 Jul 2014 16:03:00 BST
Disabled people and their families should be able to live, learn, work and get involved in their communities without facing a financial penalty. This is what the charity Scope say who have set up the Extra Costs Commission, a year-long independent inquiry that will look at how businesses, local and national government, as well as the public and voluntary sectors can work in new and innovative ways to drive down extra costs faced by disabled people and families with disabled children in England and Wales.
An expert panel of Commissioners have been brought together, which includes Donald Hirsch, the Director of CRSP, to seek formal evidence from a range of people and organisations.
'No clearer guide' to costs than MIS, says Guardian
Thu, 03 Jul 2014 13:48:00 BST
"There is no clearer guide to what the general public considers to be the true nature and cost of a basic, no-frills human existence in the world's sixth richest economy than the Joseph Rowntree Foundation's minimum income standard (MIS)."
Article published in the Guardian on Tuesday 1st July was just part of the coverage the latest update of the MIS report received this week.
Minimum Income Standard Report 2014
Mon, 30 Jun 2014 00:02:00 BST
The latest annual Minimum Income Standard (MIS) results show that it costs 28% more than in 2008 to afford an essential basket of goods and services, but earnings have increased by only 9%. As a consequence, the income of people on benefits and low earnings has fallen further behind MIS. This is particularly affecting families with children, whose in-work benefits are being cut in real terms.
The 2014 report recalculates minimum budgets for households without children, using fresh research, and reviews those for families with children that were drawn up in 2012. This marks the point where all the original budgets have been researched again from scratch. The contents of the minimum baskets are similar to those of 2008, but changes, such as the addition of computers and the internet for pensioners, in 2014 reflect changes in society.
Wages, taxes and top-ups
Thu, 12 Jun 2014 00:02:00 BST
Wages, tax rates and in-work support such as tax credits have had a changing influence on family income in recent years. Wage increases have been modest, but in the past 15 years the state has stepped in to give substantial top-ups to working families. As a result, by 2008, a lone parent or a working couple with children could hope to reach the Minimum Income Standard even with modest wages.
But since 2008 this situation has started to reverse. This report documents how stagnating wages and cuts in in-work benefits have again made it harder to reach an acceptable minimum for a family with low earnings.
The report, for the Joseph Rowntree Foundation, also looks at the policy options that could help turn the tide back in a positive direction. It finds that income tax cuts proposed by the political parties are not a cost-effective solution, since their impact is spread too thinly. Bolstering in-work benefits would be a far cheaper way of improving the incomes of needy working families, in combination with measures to improve their wages.
MIS Report Launch 2014
Thu, 05 Jun 2014 10:06:00 BST
The launch of this year’s MIS report will take place on Tuesday 1st July in London at 4.15pm.
Released in partnership by the Joseph Rowntree Foundation and the Centre for Research in Social Policy, the Minimum Income Standard (MIS) is based on detailed research into the goods and services that members of the public think are needed for a minimum socially acceptable standard of living. Expert knowledge on certain physical living requirements, including nutrition are also factored in.
As a benchmark of income adequacy the standard provides an important lens for considering the impact of economic performance and tax and benefits policy on the living standards of specific groups in the UK. As well as being used frequently in policy debates and analysis it forms the basis for setting the Living Wage outside of London.
Chaired by Sarah Newton MP, the launch event for the 2014 update of MIS will begin at 4:15pm with a presentation from the report’s authors, followed by discussion and questions.
If you would like to attend the launch, please book your place by following this link mis2014.eventbrite.co.uk
Evidence from CRSP cited in landmark High Court ruling
Wed, 16 Apr 2014 13:19:00 BST
In an extraordinary development, a High Court judge ruled on 9 April that the extremely low benefit entitlements of asylum seekers, and the freezing of their level in recent years, is illegal and needs to be corrected by the Home Secretary. In his ruling, he cited evidence that we submitted showing the inadequacy of these benefits in relation to minimum needs, and the fact that minimum costs had risen sharply, whereas the Home Office was suggesting that the contrary may be the case. The lawyers in the case informed us that our evidence had been crucial. Although this does not mean that judges will be setting benefits based on MIS, it is a significant precedent in terms of judges being willing, under judicial review, to overturn a benefit decision whose justification is shown to be irrational, and our evidence can contribute to this conclusion.
Further information on the case and outcome is available via the link below.
Vote for our Living Wage research
Thu, 13 Mar 2014 15:16:00 GMT
CRSP has been nominated for two Loughborough University Enterprise Awards for our work on the Living Wage.
One in the Social Impact category and the other for our Consultancy work.
The award is being decided by public ballot and you can vote for us using the links below.
Households below a Minimum Income Standard: 2008/9 to 2011/12
Fri, 24 Jan 2014 08:32:00 GMT
The latest report in the Minimum Income Standard programme, funded by JRF was published today. The report looks at the changes in the adequacy of incomes, as measured by households’ ability to reach the Minimum Income Standard (MIS), between 2008/9 and 2011/12; a period when recession set in and continued to bite while the tightening of benefits and tax credits first kicked in. It is the second in an annual series of reports tracking how many people live in households with insufficient income to afford a minimum socially acceptable standard of living according to MIS. As well as monitoring numbers below this threshold, the report also looks at how many are well above and how many well below this standard.
The report shows that overall there has been a deterioration in living standards, with the proportion of individuals living in households below MIS increasing by a fifth between 2008/9 and 2011/12. Hardest hit have been single working age individuals, and within this group single people aged under 35 living on their own have seen a dramatic increase in their risk of having an income that is well below the Minimum Income Standard. The findings of the report confirm that young people, single people and people in private housing have done particularly badly relative to their minimum needs in recent years, in particular in terms of the numbers having to live on very low incomes. While families with children received some protection during the early years of the recession, from 2011 they have been hit by cuts in benefits and tax credits, and the risk of falling short of the MIS standard is starting to rise.
Minimum Acceptable Place Standards
Thu, 05 Dec 2013 09:15:00 GMT
A new report published today sets out the findings of research conducted by CRSP and the Centre for Housing Policy (University of York) exploring the possibility of consensual, publically agreed minimum standards for place. The research brought together groups of members of the public, from across different income groups, in cities, suburbs and rural locations. It set out to test the extent to which it was possible to establish a minimum acceptable place standard based on public consensus. In doing this it complements the on-going programme of work exploring Minimum Income Standards.
The research shows that it is possible to reach broad level agreement about what places need to have and be like in order to meet an acceptable minimum standard. This agreement is captured in the Minimum Acceptable Place Standards (MAPS) framework setting out the key domains and features that mean places reach this standard. The framework includes a number of services and facilities that people think should be within walking distance, such as primary schools, doctors and a community hub, and others up to twenty minutes away, such as hospitals and childcare.
Household costs and foster care
Wed, 06 Nov 2013 11:16:00 GMT
This report presents the findings of a project undertaken for the Fostering Network to develop robust information about the needs of foster families and the cost implications that these needs have for households. The different and additional needs in fostering households mean that the cost of providing a minimum socially acceptable standard of living for a foster child is higher than that of providing the same standard of living for a birth child of the same age.
The Cost of a Child in 2013
Mon, 19 Aug 2013 08:51:00 BST
The latest annual update of calculations of the additional cost of bringing up a child, based on the Minimum Income Standard, show that it now costs £148,000 to bring up a child, up 4 per cent since 2012. The cost of childcare and other expenses have been rising more rapidly than family incomes. As a consequence, families both in low-paid jobs and out of work are falling short of affording a minimum living standard, by a growing amount. The cap on uprating benefits and tax credits is systematically increasing this shortfall.
Does Universal Credit enable households to reach a minimum income standard?
Wed, 10 Jul 2013 12:59:00 BST
The Universal Credit is being introduced from 2013 to help people on low incomes to make ends meet, and to help make work pay. But how well does it achieve these objectives? This report looks in detail at the disposable income that households can obtain by working various hours on different wages, with the help of Universal Credit. It finds that UC helps make working households better off than those out of work. However, in many cases it traps people on low wages on incomes that are much lower than what they need as a minimum, and with little or no more disposable income if they work full time than part time.
This report breaks new ground in three ways. It looks at UC's effect on disposable income, taking account of the effect of working longer hours on childcare costs. It looks not just at work incentives but on the extent to which the families affected can reach an adequate income, using the Minimum Income Standard as a benchmark. Finally, the report compares the gains and losses made on the transition to Universal Credit with the effect of other recent changes in the adequacy of benefits and tax credits, to assess the overall extent to which households are better or worse off.
A Minimum Income Standard for Remote Rural Scotland
Thu, 04 Jul 2013 11:15:00 BST
Our MIS team went to some of the most isolated parts of the UK to research minimum budget requirements in island and mainland areas of remote parts of Scotland. This report sets out additional costs there, arising from factors such as additional travel needs, higher heating costs and more expensive households goods and food. The project was commissioned by a coalition of public and third-sector organisations in the region, who are using the results to help develop practical solutions in efforts to create sustainable communities.
A minimum standard of living now costs a quarter more than in 2008
Thu, 27 Jun 2013 16:35:00 BST
The latest annual Minimum Income Standard (MIS) results show a continuing squeeze on living standards for people on low incomes, as costs rise and incomes stagnate.
Since 2008, when the study was first undertaken, the price of an essential basket of goods and services has risen by 25%, compared to 17% for the Consumer Prices Index basket and average earnings increases of just 5%.
As a consequence, the income of people on benefits and on the National Minimum wage have fallen further behind MIS. This deterioration has continued in the past year, despite a record rise in tax allowances which has boosted buying power for those in work and paying tax. This gain has been outweighed by a combination of rising living costs and real-terms cuts in tax credits and child benefit, which hits families with children especially hard.
Donald Hirsch, author of this year's study, said: “From this April, for the first time since the 1930s, benefits are being cut in real terms by not being linked to inflation. The next election is likely to be the first in 84 years when living standards are lower than at the last one. Sadly, the families least able to adjust to this reduction are now feeling it hard."