Loughborough launches interview series to mark 40 years of social policy research

Loughborough University has launched a short series of interviews with researchers from its Centre for Research in Social Policy (CRSP) to mark 40 years since the centre was launched.

The first of the three videos features the centre’s Co-Director Professor Abby Davis and Katie Schmuecker, from the Joseph Rowntree Foundation (JRF), and looks at the Minimum Income Standard (MIS) – a basket of goods and services calculated by considering what the public views as a minimum acceptable standard of living.

The latest MIS figures (2022) show that a single person needs to earn £25,500 a year to reach a minimum acceptable standard of living. And a couple with two children needs to earn £43,400 between them.

The items in the budgets show what elements the public consider essential for a decent quality of life, from carpets, curtains and mobile phones to transport, the ability to socialise and access to popular culture (for example, through a basic subscription to a streaming service).

Prof Davis said: “So, it's food and drink and clothing. It's about the furnishings you need in your home for it to be homely and comfortable.

“But it’s also about being able to access opportunity and choices in terms of activities and thinking about how people live their lives. It's not about having unlimited choices, but this element of choice is so important for people to be able to live with dignity.”

MIS – funded by JRF – is used to calculate the Real Living Wage, which is higher than the government’s National Living Wage and is paid by more than 13,000 UK employers, including Loughborough University.

Minimum Income Standard work being conducted regularly in remote rural Scotland is being used by the Scottish government to help to monitor fuel poverty.

Internationally, it has been adopted by countries in Latin America, Africa, Asia and other parts of Europe.

CRSP  was established in 1983 by Professor Sir Adrian Webb.

Over the years, CRSP has strived to improve people’s lives through social policy change.

The centre’s other work includes the Cost of a child, Retirement Living Standards, Poverty at the end of life and a new study looking at the costs faced by non-resident parents.

The next two videos in the series feature the centre’s other Co-Director Professor Matt Padley and Research Fellow Dr Juliet Stone.

Professor Padley is joined by Rebecca O’Connell, Professor of Food, Families and Society at the Centre for Research in Public Health and Community Care (CRIPACC) at the University of Hertfordshire, to discuss food insecurity, children and young people, free school meals and the impact of inflation.

Dr Stone and Mark Jackson, Senior Policy and Research Manager at Marie Curie, discuss the prevalence and risks of poverty among people with terminal illness in the UK, and how policy interventions could help this vulnerable group. 

All three interviews are hosted by Peter Warzynski and are available to watch on YouTube, where you can set reminders for their launch.

CRSP@40 Discussions: Food and Living Standards will be available at midday on July 19 and CRSP@40 Discussions: Dying with Dignity will be released on July 21.


Notes for editors

Press release reference number: 23/109

Loughborough is one of the country’s leading universities, with an international reputation for research that matters, excellence in teaching, strong links with industry, and unrivalled achievement in sport and its underpinning academic disciplines.

It has been awarded five stars in the independent QS Stars university rating scheme, named the best university in the world for sports-related subjects in the 2023 QS World University Rankings – the seventh year running – and University of the Year for Sport by The Times and Sunday Times University Guide 2022.

Loughborough is ranked 7th in The UK Complete University Guide 2023, 10th in the Guardian University League Table 2023 and 11th in the Times and Sunday Times Good University Guide 2023.

Loughborough is consistently ranked in the top twenty of UK universities in the Times Higher Education’s ‘table of tables’, and in the Research Excellence Framework (REF) 2021 over 90% of its research was rated as ‘world-leading’ or ‘internationally-excellent’. In recognition of its contribution to the sector, Loughborough has been awarded seven Queen's Anniversary Prizes.

The Loughborough University London campus is based on the Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park and offers postgraduate and executive-level education, as well as research and enterprise opportunities. It is home to influential thought leaders, pioneering researchers and creative innovators who provide students with the highest quality of teaching and the very latest in modern thinking.