Our publications - 2020

Exploring affordability: what can housing associations do to better support their tenants? This report presents findings from research looking at the issues affecting housing association tenants’ household budgets, what helps or makes it harder to manage and what else could housing providers or others do to more effectively support tenants and help budgets go further. A range of ideas were developed and reviewed through a series of interviews and group discussions with housing association tenants and staff. This report sets out some of the ways in which the role of housing provider could be enhanced to better support tenants with costs that exert pressures on constrained budgets, and can result in problems paying rent and affording other essentials. The research was completed before Covid-19 hit the UK, however themes identified in the study – the importance of a decent home, dealing with pressure on incomes, digital inclusion, and the need for support with looking for work or with financial concerns – are potentially even more pertinent in the current climate. The research also included an evidence review of effective practice by UK housing providers and data analysis of housing costs and household incomes. The research was commissioned by Futures Housing Group, a social housing provider in the East Midlands. Hill, K., Padley, M. and Stone, J. (2020) Exploring affordability: what can housing associations do to better support their tenants? Loughborough, Centre for Research in Social Policy.
Home truths: Young adults living with their parents in low to middle income families ‌‌A growing proportion of young people in the UK are living with their parents well into early adulthood. This report has been produced as part of a project funded by Standard Life Foundation which aims to investigate the economic and financial challenges facing low to middle income families where young adults live with their parents. The report presents findings from the first phase of the study – comprising data analysis, a literature review and policy mapping - to provide a comprehensive look at the living standards of low to middle income families in what is becoming a ‘normal’ life stage for young people. The findings provide a profile of the extent and circumstances of such families and the financial and policy landscape they face. It highlights influences including increased housing costs, the precarity of young adults’ labour market experience, and changing social norms, but also the complex picture of determinants and experiences as co-residence is not clearly more common in better off or worse off families, and is not seen solely in positive or negative terms by those involved. Much depends on individuals’ circumstances, including on the transition points experienced in young people’s lives and on the resources that each of the family members can bring to the arrangement. Hill, K., Hirsch, D., Stone, J. and Webber, R. (2020) Home truths: Young adults living with their parents in low to middle income families, Edinburgh, Standard Life Foundation.
The cost of pensioner poverty and the non-take-up of Pension Credit This report estimates the additional costs associated with non-take-up of Pension Credit. Pension credit guarantees that pensioners’ incomes can be topped up at least to £173.75 a week for singles and £265.20 for couples, if their incomes fall below this level. In principle, this should eliminate serious poverty for pensioners. However, around a million eligible pensioners do not claim Pension Credit. This causes them to lose out on an average of £49 a week, and to be at risk of deep poverty. This not only damages the well-being of those concerned, but also costs the state money as a result of the greater spending on health and social care needed for pensioners whose lives have been damaged by poverty. This report estimates that £4 billion a year would be saved in public spending if everyone eligible were to take up Pension Credit. The higher health and social care spending associated with pensioner poverty is substantially larger than the estimated £2.16 billion saved by the Treasury as a result of non-take-up of Pension Credit. The benefits of higher take-up would therefore be twofold. First, it could save public money over the long term, as better incomes feed through to better health outcomes and a lower social care bill. Second, the evidence shows that it can improve the lives of pensioners currently not claiming their entitlement. This puts it at the top of the agenda for reducing pensioner poverty. Hirsch, D. and Stone, J. (2020) The cost of pensioner poverty and non-take-up of Pension Credit. London: Independent Age
Living on Different Incomes in London: Can public consensus identify a 'riches line'? There is widespread social and political concern about economic inequality in the UK, but relatively little research examining what people think about high incomes and wealth. This report is drawn from an innovative study aiming to find out whether there was public consensus on a point at which high income and/or wealth becomes excessive. The research was conducted in London, where economic inequality is particularly pronounced and plainly visible.

Using a variation on the Minimum Income Standard (MIS) methodology developed by CRSP at Loughborough University this project brought together groups of higher, lower and mixed income citizens to discuss different increasingly high levels of living standards above the minimum (described by MIS research). The discussion groups were able to identify and agree on ‘consumption bundles’ of assets, goods, activities and services that they associated with living at progressively higher living standards. However, having considered the benefits and disadvantages of some individuals having a very high level of wealth and assets, they were unable to agree that there was a point beyond which financial resources (whether income, wealth or both) could be considered excessive. The project was a collaboration between researchers at Loughborough and Birmingham Universities and the London School of Economics and was funded by Trust for London. Davis, A., Hecht, K., Burchardt, T., Gough, I., Hirsch, D., Rowlingson, K. and Summers, K. (2020) Living on Different Incomes in London: Can public consensus identify a 'riches line'? London: Trust for London.