News and events
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."
Essential markets failing those on lowest incomes
Tue, 18 Jun 2013 08:57:00 BST
Poorest households in the UK are paying 10p in every £1 more for essential goods and services, according to research by Consumer Futures and the Joseph Rowntree Foundation.
“Addressing the poverty premium”, finds that markets for utilities and financial services are failing those on the lowest incomes. The report calls for regulators to put the needs of low-income consumers at the centre of their thinking about whether markets are working well and to develop and implement Consumer Vulnerability strategies to focus their efforts for consumers.
Donald Hirsch, Director of the Centre for Research in Social Policy at Loughborough University, said:
‘People on low incomes can be doubly disadvantaged by having to pay above the odds for essential services and credit - making it even harder to make ends meet. Some regulators have started to recognise that disadvantaged households can be poorly placed to benefit from the market.
‘Where this is the case, they may need additional protection, or regulators may need to take extra steps to create a level playing field.
‘This report shows that the stakes are high for low income households: higher prices can substantially lower their living standards to well below an acceptable level. The challenge that this raises for all regulators is to look systematically at outcomes for low income groups, and where markets have failed them, to consider what additional protections are needed.’
Child poverty costs UK £29 billion a year
Fri, 07 Jun 2013 11:08:00 BST
The high levels of child poverty in the UK are currently costing the country at least £29 billion a year – or £1,098 per household – according to new research released today by Loughborough University expert Donald Hirsch.
The estimate includes the costs of policy interventions required in childhood to correct for the effects of poverty, as well as the longer term losses to the economy which result from poor children’s reduced productivity, lower educational attainment and poorer physical and mental health.
Donald Hirsch said:
"However much governments try to redefine poverty or ponder new solutions, the fact remains that millions of children continue to be damaged by growing up in families with inadequate resources.
“The scale of the cost of child poverty to us all continues to dwarf the investment made so far, which had produced major reductions in child poverty in the last 15 years. Because the damage done by child poverty lasts for decades, such investments need to be sustained over a long period."
CRSP wins major grant to research Minimum Income Standard
Tue, 07 May 2013 09:16:00 BST
The Centre for Research in Social Policy has been given further funding by the Joseph Rowntree Foundation to extend and step up its pathbreaking research on A Minimum Income Standard for the United Kingdom.
The research, involving detailed deliberation by members of the public to identify what things households need to achieve a minimum acceptable standard of living, is recognised as the UK's leading "budget standards" research. It provides a benchmark used by charities to help people in financial need, and is used to calculate the national Living Wage, outside London, being widely taken up by public and private employers.
The new grant will allow annual updates of the standard up to the end of 2016. These updates take account of inflation, and new research every two years will ensure that minimum household budgets stay up to date, reflecting what the public considers to be necessities.
Since its launch in 2008, the Minimum Income Standard has become nationally and internationally recognised as a powerful method for calculating minimum socially acceptable incomes. The Loughborough team has carried out additional studies in Guernsey, remote rural Scotland, rural England and Northern Ireland, and advised teams applying the same methodology in the Republic of Ireland, Japan, France, Austria and Portugal.
Households below a minimum income standard: 2008/09 to 2010/11
Wed, 24 Apr 2013 16:52:00 BST
CRSP’s latest paper in the Minimum Income Standard programme, funded by JRF was published this morning. The paper examines the changes in the adequacy of household incomes in the early part of the recession, as measured by households’ ability to reach the Minimum Income Standard (MIS).
The analysis, conducted by Matt Padley and Donald Hirsch, is the first in an annual series of reports monitoring how many people live in households with not enough income to afford a ‘minimum acceptable standard of living’ as measured by MIS. The analysis also looks at the probability of falling below MIS, the profile of who is falling below and below half of MIS, and particular groups’ profiles and their overall distribution of income relative to MIS.
The paper sets out a new way of monitoring income adequacy tracking changes in the economic well-being of low-income households relative to socially defined minimum household needs. Unlike poverty measures based on relative income thresholds, MIS does not fluctuate with changing average incomes, but is based on current public views of what is essential. The paper therefore answers the key question ‘how have economic hard times affected the number of households with insufficient income according to agreed public norms?’ in a way that is not possible using other measures.
Will future tax cuts reach struggling working households?
Wed, 03 Apr 2013 17:39:00 BST
A new Briefing paper out today, written by CRSP Director Donald Hirsch, for the Resolution Foundation, looks at how exactly tax cuts interact with Universal Credit and quantifies how little low to middle income working households will keep from a higher personal allowance or a 10p tax rate under UC. It also suggests a simple way in which the Government could ensure that the benefits of tax cuts do flow through to the pockets of the three million taxpayers who claim UC. Any party proposing tax cuts that does not adopt this or an equivalent policy cannot claim to be targeting low to middle income households by cutting taxes.
Child Poverty Map of the UK
Wed, 20 Feb 2013 17:43:00 GMT
End Child Poverty has published new figures (February 2013) on the level of child poverty in each constituency, local authority and ward in the UK.
Compilation and presentation of local data was carried out by Matt Padley and Donald Hirsch at the Centre for Research in Social Policy