Our publications - 2023
The cost of a child in 2023 The twelfth report in this series shows that high inflation has pushed the cost of raising a child to £166,000 for a couple and £220,000 for a lone parent in 2023 but the enduring impact of benefit cuts and ongoing price rises have left many parents unable to give their children what the public says is a minimum acceptable living standard. Since 2012, this report series has systematically monitored the minimum cost of a child. Today’s report updates those calculations for 2023 and outlines the factors affecting the latest figures. Stone, J. and Padley, M. (2023) The Cost of a Child in 2023. London: Child Poverty Action Group
Additional family costs for meeting the everyday, non-specialist needs of children on the autism spectrum New research by CRSP, funded by Family Fund, has found that families and carers raising children on the autism spectrum face extra costs of over £2,605 each year to cover everyday essentials that meet their children’s needs. This new research, conducted by Dr Chloe Blackwell looks at the higher costs of everyday, non-specialist, household items like furniture, clothes and electronic tablets. Parents and carers raising children on the autism spectrum need to spend at least 60% more on items, which need to be of higher, sturdier quality and replaced more regularly, in line with children’s needs. Blackwell, C. (2023) Additional family costs for meeting the everyday, non-specialist needs of children on the autism spectrum. York: Family Fund
Constructing a Decent Living Index New research, carried out by the Centre, provides new evidence that households with lower incomes are facing greater financial pressures than existing inflation measures are capturing. The Decent Living Index (DLI) has been developed by CRSP, with the support of abrdn Financial Fairness Trust. Like the Minimum Income Standard, it is based on household-specific baskets of goods and services that the public agree are necessary to maintain a decent standard of living. It tracks what is happening to the cost of items that people need rather than actual expenditure. The DLI is a pilot measure and has initially been calculated for two household types: a single, working-age female, and a couple with two children of pre-school and primary school age. The research compares this new index with CPI and CPIH indices over the same period. Stone, J., Shepherd, C., Ellis, W. and Padley, M. (2023) Constructing a Decent Living Index. Edinburgh: abrdn Financial Fairness Trust.
A Minimum Income Standard for the United Kingdom in 2023 The Minimum Income Standard (MIS) provides a vision of the living standards that we as a society agree everyone in the UK should be able to achieve. This latest update sets out what households need to reach the MIS benchmark in 2023. Padley, M. and Stone, J. (2023) A Minimum Income Standard for the United Kingdom in 2023. York: Joseph Rowntree Foundation.
A Minimum Income Standard for London 2022 This latest research looking at what is needed for a decent living standard in London focuses on working-age adults without children, and pensioners. Groups of working-age adults and pensioners in Inner and Outer London discussed and agreed what these households need in order to have a minimum socially acceptable standard of living in 2022. This research calculated the difference in a minimum household budget between the capital and elsewhere in the UK, and looked at the implications of this difference for the adequacy of social security and wages. Finally, the findings of the research were used to look at the number of households without the income needed to meet this minimum standard in the capital and how this has changed over time. Padley, M., Davis, A., Blackwell, C., Shepherd, C. and Stone, J. (2023) A Minimum Income Standard for London 2022. London: Trust for London
Local indicators of child poverty after housing costs, 2021/22 This report sets out the annual after housing costs child poverty statistics for local authorities and parliamentary constituencies produced by CRSP for the End Child Poverty Coalition. The statistics show that Child poverty remains a pressing issue across all the regions and countries of the UK but that there are hotspots that are particularly badly affected. Additional analysis highlights that children in lone parent families are particularly vulnerable and that the two child limit is pushing many children into poverty, even working families. The risk of poverty is also especially high for children with disabilities and those from ethnic minority backgrounds regardless of where they live. Stone, J. (2023) Local indicators of child poverty after housing costs, 2021/22. London: End Child Poverty Coalition
The Minimum Income Standard: Understanding the cost of education to households in the UK New analysis undertaken by the Centre for Research in Social Policy (CRSP) – for Child Poverty Action Group (CPAG) – shows that parents typically need to find at least £39 per week for a child’s secondary school education and £19 for a primary-aged child. Although education is free at the point of access, in reality the cost of uniform, learning materials, school trips, packed lunch and transport sets most parents back at least £39.01 per week, per secondary school child and £18.69 per primary child. The findings are based on the Minimum Income Standard (MIS) research programme, which since 2008 has set out what the public think is needed for a minimum socially acceptable living standard in the UK. The analysis focusing on education, costing-up what parents who took part in focus groups between 2012 and 2022 said children and their families need specifically to meet children’s minimum educational needs. Excluding before and after-school childcare and household costs like printers, the research found the annual price tag for going to secondary school is £1,755.97 per child and £864.87 for a primary school child. That’s £18,345.85 for children to go through all 14 years of school. Padley, M. and Davis, A. (2023) The Minimum Income Standard: Understanding the cost of education to households in the UK. London: Child Poverty Action Group
Households below the Minimum Income Standard: 2008-2021 The latest report in the Households below the Minimum Income Standard series looks at the period from 2008 to 2021, including the first Covid-19 year. The analysis, funded by JRF, looks at what has happened to the adequacy of incomes, measured by individuals’ ability to reach the Minimum Income Standard (MIS). The report shows that children remain the group most likely to be living below MIS, with 40% living in households with inadequate income. While pensioners are the least likely to be in a household below MIS, they have seen an increase in risk since 2008-09, with the proportion below MIS increasing from 12.3% to 15.4% in 2020-21. The report also shows that Covid-19 had an impact on the adequacy of household incomes, with an increase in the proportion of all individuals living in households with incomes below MIS to 29.1% in 2020-21. But our analysis also shows that the rapid policy response to the pandemic, increasing support through the benefits system for low-income households, is likely to have mitigated some of the worst possible consequences: the proportion of children in households with incomes below 75% of MIS fell sharply from 25.6% in 2019-20 to 21.3% in 2020-21, while overall the proportion of individuals below this level also fell slightly. Padley, M. and Stone, J. (2023) Households below the Minimum Income Standard: 2008-2021. York: Joseph Rowntree Foundation
A UK Minimum Digital Living Standard for Households with Children: Interim Report This report covers the first stage of the Minimum Digital Living Standard (MDLS) research which is being funded by the Nuffield Foundation and Nominet. Drawing on the MIS approach, the research involved a series of deliberative groups with parents and young people to establish what households with children require to meet MDLS and feel included in the digital world. It highlights that digital needs are interrelated and meeting MDLS requires the appropriate level of goods and services to carry out the tasks and activities families need, as well as the skills and understanding to use them safely and confidently. This proof-of-concept research establishes that the approach can provide not only a meaningful and accessible definition of an adequate standard of digital living, but also that members of the public can agree on what is needed for that to be reached. The report outlines challenges in reaching MDLS - including costs, internet access, support with skills, and issues around digital harms and safety – and recommendations. Blackwell, C., Davis, A., Hill, K., Padley, M. and Yates, S. (2023) A UK Minimum Digital Living Standard for Households with Children. Loughborough: Centre for Research in Social Policy
Towards a Welsh Minimum Digital Living Standard: Final Report The Welsh Government commissioned the MDLS project team to help develop a Minimum Digital Living Standard for Wales. This report presents findings from: a literature review; online interviews and a survey with stakeholders across the Welsh digital landscape; and deliberative focus groups with parents and young people in Wales. These explored the relevance of the MDLS definition to Wales, and the contents of the UK MDLS for urban households with children, including its relevance in rural areas. The UK MDLS definition and needs were seen as appropriate for Wales, but the report outlines key factors influencing people’s abilities in Wales to meet the threshold, including: difficulties accessing adequate and reliable internet connection via broadband as well as mobile data, wider infrastructure issues including in rural areas and concerns around digital risks and safety. Yates, S., Hill, K., Blackwell, C., Stone, E., Polizzia, G., Harris, R., D’Arcya, J., Davis, A., Padley, M., Roberts, D., Lovell, J. and Lainge, H. (2023) Towards a Welsh Minimum Digital Living Standard: final report
Living or Surviving? - Benefits, barriers, and opportunities for young people transitioning out of homelessness This report from CRSP, funded by the West Midlands Combined Authority Homelessness Taskforce and facilitated by St Basils, highlights the impact of low income and the social security system on young peoples’ living standards and their opportunities to transition out of homelessness. The research comprised in depth interviews with 21 young people aged 17 – 25 across the West Midlands who were living in or had moved on from supported housing after experiencing or been at risk of homelessness. Webber, R., Hill, K. and Hirsch, D. (2023) Living or surviving? Benefits, barriers, and opportunities for young people transitioning out of homelessness. Birmingham: West Midlands Combined Authority Homelessness Taskforce
Retirement Living Standards: 2022 update The latest UK Retirement Living Standards have been published by the Pensions and Lifetime Savings Association. These standards were first developed in 2019 by the Centre for Research in Social Policy at Loughborough University. This latest inflation-based update of the RLS takes into account changes in prices over the last year. The annual increase in what is needed to reach each living standard is by far the largest since the RLS were first established. The standards describe the cost of three different baskets of goods and services, established through research with members of the public, setting out what the public agree to be realistic and relevant expectations for retirement. These baskets include household bills, food and drink, transport, holidays and leisure, clothing and social and cultural participation. The Retirement Living Standards set out three different publicly determined levels or lifestyles – minimum, moderate and comfortable. These are designed to help people think in concrete ways about the lifestyle they want when they retire, and to understand the cost of this. Padley, M. (2023) Retirement Living Standards: 2022 update. London: The Pensions and Lifetime Savings Association.
Policy interventions to alleviate poverty at the end of life This report builds upon previous research by CRSP estimating that 90,000 people in the UK die in poverty every year, and that the risk of poverty is highly concentrated among people who die before pension age. This new research, funded by end-of-life charity Marie Curie, evaluates the costs and benefits of giving working age people with terminal illness early access to the State Pension. The findings show that giving this group early access to their State Pension could almost halve their rate of poverty across the UK, lifting more than 8,600 dying people out of poverty every year. The cost of introducing this change, £114.4 million per year, is 0.1% of the annual State Pension bill and just £4 million more than the Department for Work and Pensions spent on overpaying the State Pension in error last year. The research therefore demonstrates that the simple and cost-effective measure of giving working age people with terminal illness access to the State Pension could be a highly effective policy to reduce the risk of poverty for people at a time when they are already extremely vulnerable, both personally and financially. Stone, J. (2023) Policy interventions to alleviate poverty at the end of life. London: Marie Curie