Policy and Research – latest news

We are providing a summary of the latest news and policy developments to keep you up to date with what is happening across the UK.

November 17th, 2023

A new report by End Furniture Poverty report shows that 37 English local authorities have now closed their local welfare scheme, while 62% of all local welfare spending came from the Household Support Fund – which is only set to run until March 2024. Read more.

Work and Pensions published first report of session 2023-24, ‘Cost of living support payments inquiry findings and recommendations’. It is good to see our submission was referenced in the report (p11, p18, and p22). Read more.

New Children’s Society report findings:

  • Overall, 82% of parents and carers taking part in The Children’s Society’s annual household survey in May to June 2023 indicated that they were ‘very’ or ‘quite’ concerned about the impact of the rising cost of living on their households over the next 12 months.
  • While 10% of children reported low wellbeing overall, for children in households in financial strain this was 16%, compared to 8% of children in households that were not in financial strain.
  • Furthermore, 20% of children who thought that their family was ‘not very’ or ‘not well off at all’ had low wellbeing, compared to 8% of children who thought their family’s wealth was ‘average’ compared to their peers and 4.2% who thought they were ‘very’ or ‘quite’ well off. Read more.

A new report from researchers at The University of Manchester, the Manchester BME Network and the Centre for Ageing Better says that the cost of living crisis is having a disproportionate impact on older African and Caribbean, South Asian and other ethnic minorities. Read more.

November 9th, 2023

UN special rapporteur on extreme poverty and human rights Olivier De Schutter stated that the poverty levels in the UK are “simply not acceptable” and that the UK government is violating international law. Read more.

A new report published by the Changing Realities project, drawing on the testimonies of over 100 families and analysis by the Resolution Foundation, found that the crisis is far from over for low-income families as winter approaches, with the poorest households spending twice as much (as a share of their total spending) as better-off households on housing, water, electricity, and food. Read more.

Almost half (49 per cent) of people approaching retirement are rethinking their plans as the cost-of-living crisis cuts into their everyday finances, LiveMore has found. Read more.

October 26th, 2023

Joseph Rowntree Foundation’s new study, the fourth in the Destitution in the UK series, reveals approximately 3.8 million people experienced destitution in 2022, including around one million children. Read more.

A study by the ESRC Center for Society and Mental Health and the Policy Institute at King’s College London finds certain groups are more likely than others to be negatively affected by the cost-of-living crisis:

  • 80% of people who said they were struggling financially reported feeling negative about life over the next year given rising costs —far higher than the figure for people who said they were coping financially (31%)
  • 39% of social housing tenants report struggling to sleep because of increasing costs, compared with 15% of those who own their home outright. Read more.

A new study by the Trussell Trust highlights that 62% of people in disabled households referred to Trussell Trust food banks are not receiving any benefits specifically related to their disability, and the figure in Scotland is even higher at 74%. Read more.

London Mayor’s £3.5m free holiday meals programme helped around 500,000 free meals to be delivered during October half-term. Read more.

Research from insurer SunLife shows a third of women in the UK over 50 are relying on the state pension alone and will fall short of the minimum standard of living deemed necessary for retirement. Read more.

Child poverty and caregiver mental health problems have large negative impacts on the health of the next generation, finds a large-scale study published in the Journal of Adolescent Health. Read more.

October 6th, 2023

A new modelling study suggests premature deaths – people dying before they reach 75 – will rise 6.5% this year due to the cost of living crisis, with 30 extra deaths per 100,000 people. The findings were published in the journal BMJ Public Health. Read more.

UK on track for lowest ever benefit levels by 2030 warns IPPR. In 1971, out-of-work benefits were worth 20.1 per cent of a weekly median pay. However, after half a century of almost consistent decline, it’s on a trajectory to be worth just 11.2 percent by 2030, even after assumptions that benefits are uplifted by inflation every year. Read more.

Latest research from Barnardo’s shows that families in crisis are having to prioritise essentials such as food, heating and electricity over things like replacing mouldy bedding or fixing a broken bed. Read more.

Researchers at the University of York have led a series of studies into how rising living costs are affecting households across the country and the evidence highlights how a myriad of pressures are pushing families to breaking point. A survey of elected councillors undertaken at the start of 2023 exposed concern for specific groups within their communities, including children in low income families, pensioners and those receiving unemployment benefits. The findings showed:

  • Eight out of 10 say that children in low income families were at risk of destitution in their area due to the cost of living crisis
  • Seven out of 10 say that people in receipt of unemployment benefits were at risk of destitution
  • Six out of 10 say that pensioners were at risk of destitution
  • Seven out of 10 say their authority would not be well-equipped to respond to another financial shock in the future.
  • Seven out of 10 say health and social care services in their local authority did not have sufficient resources to cope with the current crisis. Read more.

September 29th, 2023

New research from the Living Wage Foundation shows that the cost-of-living crisis is far from over for Britain’s 3.5m low paid workers. Polling of over 2,000 workers earning less than the real Living Wage, by Survation, found that levels of financial hardship amongst low paid workers remained high and well above pre-cost-of-living-crisis figures. The polling revealed that amongst low paid workers over the past 12 months:

  • 50% say they are worse off than a year ago,
  • 39% regularly skipped meals for financial reasons,
  • 39% had fallen behind with household bills. Read more.

Scottish child payment ‘significantly’ impacting child poverty. Professor Danny Dorling, of Oxford University, said that the Scottish child payment may have caused the largest fall in child poverty anywhere in Europe since the fall of the Berlin Wall. Read more.

Recent research conducted using the British Social Attitudes (BSA) survey shows that there is also increasing political space for more pro-welfare policies as anti-welfare attitudes have fallen sharply since 2010. Read more.

September 22nd, 2023

New analysis of published local government data alongside statistics from a Freedom of Information request shows that an estimated 75,000 council assets, worth around £15 billion, have been sold since 2010. On average more than 6,000 council assets worth around £1.2 billion annually have been sold every year during the last 13 years. Read more.

New research by the Trussell Trust found that nearly half of working households who were in receipt of Universal Credit (49%) ran out of food and didn’t have enough money to buy more in the past month, and one in five (21%) working families in receipt of Universal Credit have been unable to make an essential journey such as travelling to work or the school run because they couldn’t afford the cost of fuel or public transport in the last six months. Read more.

80% of school staff say providing universal free school meals to all school children would reduce child poverty in their school, according to a survey carried out by the Education Anti-Poverty Coalition. Read more.

A third of UK workers have looked into reducing or pausing their pension contributions in the past two years, as the cost-of-living crisis continues to bite, Royal London research has revealed. The survey found that, for those aged 18-34, this rose to 49%. Read more.

A vast majority, or 78%, of homeowners aged 50 to 80 are feeling the effects of the cost-of-living crisis, according to new research from later life lender LiveMore. Read more.

Cost of living crisis sparks troubling rise in malnutrition and return of ‘Victorian’ diseases.Read more.

Two-thirds of the 18- to 24-year-olds who were questioned in research have lowered their career expectations, with the cost of living, the state of the UK economy and their own mental health named as the biggest factors. Read more.

September 14th, 2023

The Minimum Income Standard (MIS) latest update sets out what households need to reach the MIS benchmark in 2023. A single person needs to earn £29,500 a year to reach a minimum acceptable standard of living in 2023. A couple with two children need to earn £50,000 between them. Read more.

The Child of the North: Addressing Education and Health Inequity report highlights how children born into the poorest fifth of families in the UK are almost 13 times more likely to experience poor health and educational outcomes by the age of 17. Read more.

YouGov poll conducted on behalf of UNICEF UK questioned 2,661 parents of children aged four and under, findings highlighted: 71% said their family budget is “stretched to the limit” with 56% reporting cutting back on playgroups and sporting activities and half cutting back on books, toys, and crafts. 71% said they feel it is harder being a parent now compared to their parents’ generation due to the rising cost of living, spending less time with their children and a lack of childcare. Read more.

The Institute for Fiscal Studies (IFS) said those growing up in the north of England and the Midlands, as well as those from a minority ethnic background, would find it a lot harder than others to become wealthier than their parents. Read more.

More than five million adults admit they spend beyond their means for more than half the year, according to a cashback site. Read more.

September 7th, 2023

Nearly one in four adults say they could not afford an unexpected £200 bill, a survey by Christians against Poverty finds. Read more.

More than four in 10 of poorest parents skip meals to ensure kids do not go hungry, opinion matters survey for Save the Children finds. Read more.

The Government needs to find £36bn to combat poverty effectively, according to the cross-party Poverty Strategy Commission. Read more.

92% of parents said that the cost-of-living crisis has encouraged them to discuss finances more openly with their children, according to a Legal & General survey. Read more.

September 1st, 2023

At least 30% of councils in some of the poorest areas of the country are considering declaring effective bankruptcy this year or next, it has emerged. Read more.

TUC’s strategy for the care workforce report found:

  • More than three in five (62%) childcare workers and social care workers earn less than the real Living Wage
  • Social care workers earn only about 65% of the median salary for all employees (£21,500 a year compared with £33,000)
  • Childcare workers earn only 56% of the median salary for all employees (£18,400). Read more.

More than a quarter of claimants who are required to move to universal credit (UC) have not claimed UC and have had their tax credits stopped as a result, new analysis has revealed. Read more.

Universities are looking at three-day weeks to help students struggling with the cost of living crisis, according to reports. Read more.

One in four teachers gave food to hungry pupils in England last term, survey finds. Read more.

August 25th, 2023

Key findings from Buttle UK’s new report on child poverty include: a poll of 1,240 front-line professionals found that six in 10 of the children they work with are experiencing extreme poverty — up from 45% the previous year and 36% in 2021. Read more.

New report by IFS highlights large mismatches between the funding different areas receive for public services and their spending needs. For example, Wokingham received 45% more local government funding in 2022–23 than it would if total funding were allocated in proportion to need, while Hounslow received 31% less. This is only partly explained by them setting different council tax levels. Read more.

Klarna customer numbers in the UK jumped from 17m in the summer of 2022 to 18m at the end of June this year. And the average age of users also rose from 33 in 2021 to 36 today. Read more.

National Energy Action (NEA) has estimated that 6.3 million UK households could be left in fuel poverty this October. Read more.

August 17th, 2023

Bailiffs hired by councils to recover unpaid debts have seen their profits rise to record levels during the Cost-of-living Crisis, company filings show. Read more.

Which? research finds cheese, butter, and bread are up by more than 30% in the past two years. Read more.

DWP Universal Credit claimants at a record-high of 6.1 million as the Cost-of-living Crisis worsens. Read more.

Disadvantaged young people whose families have used a foodbank are less likely than their more affluent peers to apply for a university place amid affordability concerns, a study has found. Read more.

High rents and mortgage payments are a cause of major financial stress for nearly a third of public service workers such as cleaners, care staff and teaching assistants, a report has found. Read more.

August 10th, 2023

Gen Z are forced to dip into their savings four times more often than the 2022 average, new national research  conducted by Money.co.uk savings finds. Read more.

JRF Cost-of-living Tracker found that low-income households with a disabled person are being hit hard by the cost of living crisis, with almost 6 in 10 experiencing food insecurity in April/May 2023 (57%), 7 in 10 going without essentials between November and May (71%), and almost half in arrears with a household bill (48%). Read more.

The benefits system is disincentivising young people in supported housing from seeking work and poorly impacting their mental health, new research from the YMCA has found. Read more.

One in six Britons are going without a summer holiday because they are cutting back during the cost-of-living crisis, a survey suggests. Read more.

August 3rd, 2023

According to Joseph Rowntree Foundation (JRF) analysis, 2.3 million low-income families have reported taking out loans or using credit to pay essential bills during the Cost-of-living Crisis. Read more.

Researchers at Health Equity North (HEN) analysed data to create a visual representation of how children from different areas of the country fare across a range of childhood health indicators. Presented in the form of a football league table featuring the 20 men’s Premier League teams, the top half of the table, showing the best-performing regions, is dominated by southern clubs, and the ‘relegated clubs’ are from the Midlands and the North West. Read more.

Bank of England data shows that the amount of money borrowed by consumers rose to a five-year high in June, with £1.7bn borrowed last month. Read more.

A survey by BMG Consulting on behalf of i reveals that nearly six in 10 voters – 58 per cent – say they are just staying afloat due to the historic squeeze on household budgets. An overwhelming majority of respondents – 80 per cent – said the cost of living crisis was the biggest issue facing the country at the moment. Read more.

The typical UK household will be £2,300 worse off in real terms, by the time the cost of living crisis comes to an end, according to a new study from Grant Thornton and Retail Economics.Read more.

July 27th, 2023

New JRF research finds unpaid carers experience an average pay penalty of £487 per month, or nearly £6,000 per year, rising to £744 per month, or nearly £9,000 per year after six years of providing unpaid care. Read more.

DfE schools survey finds nearly two-thirds of schools have increased the cost of pupil meals this year and over a quarter of schools say support with energy bills made no real difference to their financial position. Read more.

Affordable housing provider Orbit conducted a survey with renters and owners about the impact of the crisis on their everyday living, health, and finances. Some of the key findings of the research include: three times more renters than owners ‘worry all the time’ about meeting everyday costs; nearly a third (31%) of all responders are skipping meals to reduce costs, whilst nearly three quarters said that they had either turned the heating down (75%) or off completely (72%) during the winter months; Orbit has twice as many households (29%) using prepayment meters compared to the UK average (14%) and of these, 32% of customers said that they had been unable to afford to top up their meters at least once over the last 12 months. Read more.

Usdaw has released latest findings of their cost of living survey of over 6,000 key workers in retail and associated industries. Key findings include: 81.5% of members say they feel worse off now than they did 12 months ago, higher than 77% in 2022 and 39% in 2021; 76% are not able to afford to be take sick leave, 61% identify getting ill as a key concern; 70% say their children are missing out. Read more.

July 20th, 2023

Cost of living crisis pushes debts to the highest ever level for a quarter of all young and middle-aged Brits. Read more.

Young adults and renters are some of the people worst hit by rising prices as official figures show around one in 20 said they had run out of food in the past two weeks and couldn’t afford more. Read more.

The benefit cap and the two-child limit have caused hardship to tens of thousands of families, with both policies failing to meet their original aims, the study concludes. Read more.

IFS economist says Scottish child poverty reforms ‘significant’. The size of recent Scottish welfare reforms is “not really appreciated” and they represent a “really quite significant” change, a director at one of the UK’s leading economics research bodies has said. Read more.

New research finds the impact of the cost-of-living crisis is not evenly distributed across businesses, households, or public sector services, with some industrial sectors, socio-economic groups and public sector services, being more greatly affected than others. The gap between the rich and poor is widening, with the inflation rate for the poorest 10% of households being 12.5% compared to 9.6% for the richest 10% of UK households. Read more.

July 17th, 2023

Sticking-plaster ‘food banks’ and ‘red tape’ leave many across the UK facing financial hardship, new data by GMPA reveals. In our survey of 2,700 UK residents, 60% claimed ‘limited access to financial support’ has been a problem for a ‘number of years’ and 44% of those who sought help believe they were ‘wrongly redirected to food banks’. Read more.

July 14th, 2023

The number of disadvantaged two-year-olds registered for 15-hour childcare is now the lowest ever, according to the latest official statistics, while the number of children of working parents registered for the 30-hour entitlement is at its highest. Read more.

Household finances will be corroded by rising living costs and elevated rates until at least May 2024, according to calculations by consultancy Retail Economics and accountancy firm Grant Thornton. Read more.

A new IFS report explores how material living standards have changed since the beginning of the pandemic, based on household incomes as well as other indicators. Key findings include: individuals aged 50–70 who moved from employment into economic inactivity in 2020–21 were more likely to end up in poverty (in the year of exit) than those who became inactive in previous years; recent changes to universal credit have much smaller effect on poverty than £20 uplift. Read more.

July 7th, 2023

New research by CMC markets analysed Google search trends at a local level to understand areas most worried about financial concerns. Ranking sixth, Wigan residents exhibit an active search rate of 4,049 monthly searches per 100K individuals, with a strong emphasis on finding help to cover their bills. Read more.

A new report by the Resolution Foundation warns poor economic growth, and a failure to fairly distribute wealth, could see poorer household incomes rise by only 2% over the next decade, compared to 12% for typical households and 14% for those in the top income quintile – widening the income gap between typical and poorer households from £18,000 to £21,000. Read more.

Mintago’s latest research of 1,333 full-time and part-time UK workers has found that 62% of Britons say that the rising cost of living is their greatest source of stress. This rises to 69% among those earning under £30,000. Just 36% of Britons say that their employers have initiatives in place that are designed to improve the financial wellbeing of staff. This falls to 26% of those earning less than £30,000. Read more.

Debt Justice, has found that about 12.8 million adults in the UK are falling behind on bills or finding repayments a heavy burden. Read more.

HR software provider Ciphr polled 1,000 UK adults to find out how rising living costs are impacting them at work. Of the 1,000 employees surveyed across the UK, three in four (76%) said they have felt stressed or overwhelmed at times because of increases to their cost of living, nearly a third (31%) have asked their employer for a pay rise, and over a third (34%) have been actively looking for a better paying job. Read more.

Further education students in England are struggling in “extreme poverty”, forced to work excessive hours in insecure jobs to support themselves and their families and falling behind with their studies as a result, according to a new APPG report. Read more.

June 30th, 2023

New Trussell Trust report ‘Hunger in the UK’ highlights that 14% of all UK adults (or their households) have experienced food insecurity in the 12 months to mid-2022, equating to an estimated 11.3 million people. Read more.

New research by IPSOS suggests more than 3 million people have borrowed from an unlicensed or unauthorised money lender in the last three years. Read more.

Bank of England data shows families took out £4.6bn last month to help them cope with the cost of living crisis. Read more.

The cost of living is worsening the health of children in UK. A new survey reports increased levels of tooth decay and stunted growth as families struggle to afford nutritious meals. Read more.

The most deprived fifth of the population would need to spend 50% of their disposable income on food to meet the cost of the Government-recommended healthy diet. This compares to just 11% for the least deprived fifth. Read more.

June 23rd, 2023

New research from Child Poverty Action Group shows child poverty’s heavy toll on children’s physical and mental health, their education, and how they feel about themselves and their futures. Over three-quarters of parents (79%) worry about not having enough money to provide for their family and 65% of children report money worries themselves. Over two thirds of parents (67%) say their children have too many money worries and challenges these days to be able to enjoy their childhood and the vast majority of parents (85%) believe that the UK Government needs to do more. Read more.

The impact of rising prices while having low incomes and no savings has meant 5.5 million low-income households have had to cut down on or skip meals because they cannot afford food. Four million reported going hungry, and 2.7 million have reported having a poor diet because of the cost of living crisis. Read more.

Almost 40% of Britons aren’t coping on their current salaries and 60% are looking for the lowest prices when  shopping, according to new data from IPA Touchpoints. Read more.

The rate of price rises has remained at 8.7% despite expectations of a fall, according to official figures. The cost of second-hand cars, flights, live music events and computer games kept the inflation rate higher than expected, despite the drop in petrol prices. Read more.

More than half of the 10,000 students surveyed by the Higher Education Policy Institute (Hepi) said they did paid work during term time, with most saying they were using their wages to support their studies. Most university students supporting themselves say it is negatively affecting their studies. Read more.

Benefit claimants are offering a new resource to help guide the 2.6 million people moving onto Universal Credit from tax credits and other benefits. Read more.

One in seven people aged 65 and over has been turning to loans and credit cards to make ends meet during the cost-of-living crisis. The Independent Age charity said its research suggests many older people are struggling alone and racking up debt as costs escalate. Read more.

British children who grew up during the years of austerity are shorter than their peers in Bulgaria, Montenegro and Lithuania, a study has found. The average height of boys and girls aged five has slipped due to poor diet and NHS cuts, experts say. Read more.

Research by Pro Bono Economics, commissioned by the Association of Charitable Organisations (ACO), has found that around 480,000 low-income households across the country, equating to close to 1.2mn adults and children, are missing at least one of the vital household appliancesRead more.

June 1st, 2023

Christians Against Poverty (CAP) report reveals a sharp rise in unsustainable budgets with the average person £242 short each month. CAP is launching a campaign to ​‘take on poverty’ as its landmark client report shows low incomes and rising costs are devastating lives. Read more.

Findings by a study from Cosmos revealed, pupils in families who reported using food banks during the pandemic received lower GCSE grades (almost half a grade per subject), even taking into account previous grades and other aspects of their household finances. Read more.

Universal credit childcare funding to rise 47% from June. Parents on universal credit will be able claim hundreds of pounds more to cover childcare costs from the end of June, the government has announced. Read more.

However, this funding does not stretch far enough. A new briefing by JRF and the Coram Institute presents key recommendations for a new childcare system that better meets parents’ needs – particularly for families facing disadvantage. Read more.

Report and findings of a research project exploring the energy and affordability challenges faced by fuel poor households during the winter of 2022 to 2023. Read more.

Councils urged to improve knowledge and information management. Problems with knowledge and information have led to delays, missed appointments, vulnerabilities being missed and financial detriment for residents seeking help with housing problems, warns Ombudsman. Read more.

Food inflation in the UK has slowed from April’s record-breaking rise – but is still up more than 15% on the year, new retail figures show. Research by the British Retail Consortium (BRC) and Nielsen shows a 15.4% rise in food inflation in the year to May. Read more.

May 25th, 2023

New analysis of Energy Bills Support Scheme (EBSS) data reveals that in some areas of the country more than one in twenty payments were not delivered or vouchers left redeemed. Read more.

The Resolution Foundation has said that food prices would continue to rise even as energy costs are set to fall, with pressures from food inflation exceeding energy prices by the summer. Read more.

Pension opt-out searches up 36% in face cost-of-living crisis. Read more.

An independent survey commissioned by Chetwood Financial collected insights from over 2,000 UK adults regarding their savings habits and how they are using available financial services to improve their financial well-being. Two in five (40%) respondents surveyed reported that they didn’t have enough money to put away savings each month. Read more.

Citizens Advice warned those on universal credit were six times more likely to have stopped their broadband in the last 12 months, compared with those who had not received the benefit. Read more.

Details have been published of the Labour Party’s policy handbook which is expected to form a blueprint for the party’s manifesto for the UK’s next general election. The socio-economic duty has been included. Read more.

May 18th, 2023

The Extent of Furniture Poverty in the UK uncovers the vast scale of furniture poverty across the country, using original data to show how many people are living without the essential furniture items such as a cooker, a fridge or a bed. It shows that 9% of both adults (4.8m) and children (1.2m) are in furniture poverty, with 9 million items missing nationwide. Read more.

Mental health of half (48%) of people in England and Wales is negatively affected by financial impact of cost-of-living crisis, rising to nearly three quarters (73%) for those with existing mental health problems. Read more.

Digital divide: Poorer households left behind in broadband race during cost of living crisis. Read more.

New research finds more than 50 percent of education staff spend their own earnings on classroom supplies. Read more.

Millions of Britons and around one-in-six Londoners are looking to change jobs in the next six months according to new research, in a sign that the UK’s labour market could get even more competitive. Read more.

New research suggests that employers are increasingly offering support for their staff to pay household bills amid the ongoing cost of living crisis. The number of businesses giving increased financial support has risen sharply in the past year, according to a study by jobs site Totaljobs. Read more.

May 11th, 2023

In a survey by Easyfundraising, the vast majority of grassroots organisations said they had seen their income fall – with 63% reporting that the cost-of-living crisis has had a severe or moderate impact on their fundraising income. 59% are also predicting that their income will go down in the future. Read more.

The latest report from the Joseph Rowntree Foundation sets out a framework to support local areas to make progress towards designing out the most severe forms of hardship. This framework is based around six key areas of action, in three groups: building a strategy and coalition, shifting power and redesigning the system, creating the conditions for sustainable local change. Read more.

Lots more people are working, but in jobs that keep them in poverty. Read more.

New research from National Debtline, the free debt advice service run by the Money Advice Trust, has today revealed that the average level of priority debt – including council tax, energy and rent arrears – held by callers has risen 54 percent since 2018, from £2,642 to £4,080. Read more.

The Bank of England has raised rates to their highest levels in almost 15 years. Read more.

Parents typically need to find at least £39 per week for a child’s secondary school education and £19 for a primary aged child. Read more.

May 4th, 2023

The Trussell Trust says its foodbanks in Manchester are handing out more emergency food parcels to residents struggling on the breadline than ever before. The charity’s figures show that more than 30,000 parcels were given out in the city in the year up to March 2023, a significant rise on the 2021-22 figure. Read more.

UK workers suffer 2.5 per cent real-term pay cut, while top CEOs get 4 per cent rise. Read more.

A new analysis has discovered that more than one million pensioners were underpaid £530 million last year due to governmental errors. Read more.

Government neglect of the rural economy has created a cost-of-living ‘rural premium’, according to a new report by the All-Party Parliamentary Group (APPG) on Rural Business and the Rural Powerhouse. Evidence from more than 25 industry bodies, charities, campaign groups, companies, academics, and businesses reveal rural communities spend 10-20% more on everyday items like fuel, despite wages being 7.5% lower than their urban counterparts. Read more.

New analysis by Policy in Practice finds that the total amount of unclaimed income-related benefits and social tariffs is now £18.7 billion a year. They estimate that £7.5 billion of Universal Credit is unclaimed by 1.2 million eligible households and £2.9 billion of Council Tax Support is unclaimed by over 2.7 million eligible households each year. Read more.

With the poverty rate of young people in the UK’s 2.3 million separated families higher than that of children in couple parent families, the Report from the Work and Pensions Committee concludes that the Child Maintenance Service can play a vital role in lifting children out of poverty, but that reforms are needed. Read more.

The cost of basic children’s dinner favourites including fish fingers and chips and spaghetti Bolognese has shot up by 25 per cent or more in the past year, with food price inflation far outstripping the overall UK rate. Read more.

More than a quarter of adults in Scotland have accessed the NHS due to the impact of  the cost of living crisis on their mental or physical health, according to new research. Read more.

Citizens Advice Scotland (CAS) said it saw record numbers of people seeking advice last month as the cost-of-living crisis continues to “squeeze household budgets to breaking point”. CAS said its bureaux helped people more than 100,000 times in March, the highest on record for individual pieces of advice given. Read more.

April 27th, 2023

New annual figures from The Trussell Trust show that almost 3 million (2,986,203) food parcels were given out – more than ever before. Read more.

Young people (aged 18-24) and low-income families, were most likely to have coped with rising cost pressures by simply not paying at all: around one-in-five adults in the bottom income quintile (19 per cent) and those aged 18-24 (20 per cent) reported falling behind on at least one bill in the past three months. Read more.

The Special Interest Group of Municipal Authorities (SIGOMA) says that on average the most deprived councils in England have received a 28.3% cut in the last 13 years while the richest 10 have received only 10.1% reduction. Read more. 

One in five workers at the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) claim in-work benefits, with the figure having doubled in just six months, polling revealed. Read more.

Three quarters of young people are concerned about the impact of the cost-of-living crisis on their ability to get a secure job now and in the future, new research from charity UK Youth shows. Read more.

Almost two million households in severe fuel poverty will miss out on government help in 2023/24 according to new figures. Data produced by researchers at the University of York for Child Poverty Action Group has calculated that among those groups who will miss out are 688,000 fuel poor households with children. Read more.

April 21st, 2023

Almost one in four Brits (23%) are ‘financially vulnerable’ according to research released by open banking platform Tink. Moreover, the majority (56%) expect their situation to worsen over the next year. Read more.   

The Office for National Statistics (ONS) said the jobless rate rose from 3.7% due to a surge in the number of people unemployed for more than six months. Read more

Poverty has increased across two-thirds of communities in the UK, as millions go without heat and skip meals, a poll by Christians Against Poverty suggests. Read more.

According to the survey, 10 per cent of people live in poor quality housing (defined as living in homes that are not in a good state of repair, where heating, electrics or plumbing are not in good working order, and where damp is present), with people from more disadvantaged groups more likely to live in poor quality housing. The Resolution Foundation says one in six 18 – 34-year-olds are affected, a total of 2.6 million people. Among 18 – 24-year-olds the figure is even higher at 26%. Read more.

DWP study finds that lowering the benefit cap led to some moving into paid work, some moving onto an exempting disability benefit and some moving home. Read more.


April 14th

In a survey of several countries, UK parents were the most likely to find it hard to meet soaring childcare costs – with 74% saying they found it challenging. Read more.   
Monitor finds UK poverty remains top cause to support, but priority fading. Read more.   
More than 80% of families struggled to pay utility bills and afford food last year, a survey has revealed. Read more.    
Cost of living is top concern for parents, survey suggests. Read more.   
UK cost of living crisis leading people to gambling, says charity. Read More.

April 6th, 2023

This report provides a wide-ranging and evidence-based evaluation of some of the key problems and weaknesses affecting the governance of England, discusses the history of attempts in recent decades to reform local government and establish new combined authorities. It concludes by making the case for a number of institutional reforms at the heart of central government and calls on both main parties to commit to the establishment of a devolved tier of administration across England by 2030. Read more.

78% of teachers surveyed by NEU told them that they or their school is providing help with uniforms for disadvantaged pupils, as well as free breakfasts (55%), extra food during the day (58%), toiletries (31%) and period products (68). Read more. 

The government has missed its target to increase the take-up ofNHS healthy food vouchers aimed at vulnerable parents of young children, it has emerged, despite soaring grocery prices and rising food poverty. (This emphasises the need for a cash-first approach!). Read more.

More than half of UK adults feel the cost-of-living crisis has made it more difficult to stay healthy, an issue that could have an impact on the long-term health of the workforce. Read more.

March 30th, 2023

Seven in ten school children on Universal Credit are not eligible for free school meals. Read more.

A new survey by financial advisers My Pension Expert which included 2,000 UK adults found that 61% of working women believe the cost-of-living crisishas made retirement impossible, compared to 49% of men. Only 29% of women are confident that they will be able to retire at their desired age under the current financial situation, compared to 40% of men who feel the same way. Read more.

Generation Z children born into the poorest fifth of families in the UK are 12 times more likely to experience a raft of poor health and educational outcomes by the age of 17 compared to more affluent peers, according to a new report co-authored by University of York researchers. Read more. 

Results from the second wave of the PBE and Nottingham Trent University National VCSE Data and Insights Observatory quarterly VCSE Sector Barometer reveal the extent of the charity sector’s recruitment and retention challenges. The survey finds that over eight in ten (82%) charity employers have tried to recruit paid staff in the past year, with over seven in ten (71%) saying that recruitment has been difficult. More than half of charity employers (54%) reported that they currently have vacancies, with over eight in ten (83%) saying those vacancies are proving hard to fill. Read more.

Public satisfaction with the NHS has slumped to its lowest level ever recorded since the  @NatCen British Social Attitudes survey began in 1983. Read more.

‘Good Food for All Londoners 2022: Tracking council action on food’ Sustains latest report sets out a number of recommendations for tackling food insecurity beyond food banks including cash first responses on page 15. Read more.

March 24th, 2023 

DMU research shows free breakfasts dramatically improve scores in the 3 Rs for the poorest primary school children. Read more.  

Chronic increase of ‘hidden homelessness’ in the countryside fuelled by cost-of-living crisis, year-long study shows. Read more.

UK life expectancy growing at slower rate than rest of G7, research shows.  Read more.

March 16th, 2023

Research from Investec Wealth & Investment has revealed that more than one-in-10 retirees (11%) have returned to work and that another 4% are seriously thinking about it. Read more.

One in four students regularly go without food and other necessities because they cannot afford them, new research has found. Read more.

In a survey by professional services firm Barnett Waddingham, 38 per cent of employees said they had used BNPL and a further 15 per cent planned to use it in future.  Read more.

British workers’ wages have been eroded by sky high inflation for the 15th month in a row.  Read more.

Quarter of parents of under-11s say their child’s mental health has been impacted, with nearly a fifth warning of damage to physical health, YouGov/Save The Children survey shows. Read more.

March 9th, 2023

23% of parents reported difficulties providing food for their family due to rising costs in the last four months, up from 3% in October 2022.  Read more.

One in seven people have skipped meals due to the rising cost-of-living, according to the Which? Almost one in 10 have prioritised meals for other family members above themselves and 4% have used a food bank.  Read more.

In a survey carried out last month by Mind and Censuswide of over 1000 people with experience of mental health problems and benefits assessment, almost 7 in 10 (66%) told the UK’s leading mental health charity that going through their benefits assessment made their mental health worse. Read more.

In 2020-21, 29.1% of all individuals in the UK were living in households with incomes below MIS, compared to 26.7% in 2008-09. This means that they do not have the income required to be able to afford the goods and services the public think you need to meet material needs and participate in society. In 2020-21, 19.2 million people were living below MIS, compared to 16.2 million in 2008-09. This is just over 1 million more people than in 2019-20. Read more.

March 3rd, 2023

The number of UK children in food poverty has nearly doubled in the last year to almost 4 million.  Read more.

The number of households inEngland who spend more than 10% of their income, excluding housing costs, on energy has increased from 4.93m households in 2021 to 7.39m in 2022. Read more.

It will take 300 years for the government to meet its end-of-decade energy efficiency targets for British homes at its current rate of progress, warned fuel poverty charity National Energy Action (NEA). Read more.

One in five parents and carers are spending less on books for their children because of the cost-of-living crisis, and a quarter have asked children to borrow more books from the school library, new research has found. Read more.

Almost a third (29%) of British adults say that the current cost of living crisis is impacting their ability to do their job properly. Younger generations are the group most struggling with worries about making ends meet at work, with 35% of 25–34-year-olds agreeing with this statement.  Read more.

According to the ONS survey, which was released today, 92% of students revealed that their cost of living had increased over the past year with bills making up the lion share of their expenses. The survey also found that 46% of respondents reported their mental health and well-being had worsened. Read more.

February 24th, 2023

More tenants (61%) are finding it difficult to pay their energy bills than people who have their own property, according to the Office for National Statistics (ONS). Read more.

More than four in 10 of the population expect to save no money whatsoever over the next year, according to the Office for National Statistics (ONS). Read more. 

More than 600,000 working-age households on means-tested benefits will still have less income in 2023–24 than if benefits had simply kept pace with inflation during the crisis, despite the flat-rate ‘cost of living’ payments. Read more. 

Quarter of UK households regularly run out of money for essentials, survey says.  Read more.

New research from Citizens Advice shows 1.6 million children currently live in privately rented homes with damp, mould or excessive cold. The charity’s analysis suggests more than half of private renters in England – 2.7 million households – are struggling with one or more of these issues right now.  Read more.

February 21st 2023

Household Support Fund guidance for county councils and unitary authorities in England: £842m has been made available for the period 1 April 2023 to 31 March 2024. Read more.

All primary school children in London will get free school meals for the next school year. Read more.

February 16th, 2023

Analysis by the Office for National Statistics (ONS) found there is a higher percentage of unpaid carers, looking after someone who is elderly or struggling with a long-term health condition, in the most deprived areas. Read more.

Community groups are a lifeline in the cost-of-living crisis.  Read more.

UK couples ‘arguing more over money’ because of cost-of-living crisis. Read more.  

The cost of living crisis is leading young people to take on extra hours, move in with their parents and cut back on socialising, according to an exclusive Sky News/Ipsos poll. Read more.

By April, the poorest 10% of Scottish households are set to have incomes £580 per year higher than they would under the system in England and Wales. Read more.

February 10th. 2023

Tougher rules have boosted employment but jobs offer scant career progression and contribute little to tax revenue. Read more.


Major policy reforms over the past 25 years have repeatedly followed a pattern of encouraging people into paid work (using both carrots and sticks) – especially if they do not live with another working adult. Such work is usually part-time, and often associated with very low earnings. Read more.

Around 12 million households or about 40% of customers are now spending more than 10% of their income on energy bills – the previous definition of fuel poverty, MPs have heard. Read more. 

New Action for Children research reveals up to 1.95 million UK children could be trapped in poverty and hardship as their parents face at least one major barrier to working or taking on extra work. Read more. 

British consumers sharply cut their spending in January as the cost-of-living crisis damaged household finances, retailers have warned, amid growing concern over the impact of high inflation on the economy. Read more.

For many property-owning, well-pensioned retirees, the crisis is much less of an issue compared to those who are younger and facing more precarious renting or employment prospects. Read more.

February 1st, 2023

New polling from Ipsos reveals that 67% of Britons believe the worst of the cost-of-living crisis is still to come, while 27% think that its impact has already reached its peak. Younger people are particularly likely to think the worst is yet to come (80% of 18-34 year olds vs 56% of those aged 65+). Read more.

UK homes cancelled 2m streaming services last year as cost-of-living soared. Read more.

A survey of elected councillors has revealed that 80% of local leaders in the UK are concerned that as services struggle as a result of the cost-of-living crisis, children will face a life of poverty.  Read more.

The cost-of-living crisis has left over two-in-five working age households struggling with or falling behind on their housing costs.  Read more.  

Women take home on average £564 less per month than men in 2022 (£536 in 2021).  Read more. Read more.

January 26th, 2023

During the pandemic, 34% of children in the North (around 900,000) were living in poverty, compared with 28% in the rest of England. This equates to 160,000 extra children in poverty in the North. Read more. 

3.5 million people aged 50-64 are out of the workforce, many of them in poor health and with few savings by the time they reach State Pension Age. Read more.  

Eating or breathing’: energy costs force stark choices on disabled people. Read more. 

13.4 million people were living in poverty in 2020/21. Poverty for families in receipt of Universal Credit or equivalents remained very high in 2020/21, at 46%. This is despite the temporary £20-a-week uplift and a resetting of Local Housing Allowance to reflect actual rents in an area. Read more.

January 19th, 2023

According to a poll by the Mental Health Foundation, concerns about personal finances led to almost one in three (30%) adults in the UK having poorer quality sleep and almost one-quarter of people (23%) meeting with friends less often in the previous month. One in six (15%) pursued a hobby less often, and one in eight (12%) exercised less frequently. Read more.   

Bristol University study finds ‘strong social gradient’ linking poverty with increase in mortality. Read more. 

A report by the Oxford-based charity highlights how the 685,500 richest people in Britain are worth a total of £2.8 trillion, compared with 48 million people in the UK whose combined wealth totals £2.4 trillion. Read more.  

Cases of fraudulent claims are rising as the cost-of-living crisis continues to crunch, new data from national law firm Weightmans has revealed. Read more.  

Only 7% of health visitors in the UK felt confident that all families would be able to access the support they need if an issue was raised. Read more. 

January 11th, 2023

Half of workers looking for a new job with better pay and benefits amid cost-of-living crisis. Read more.

Research from the Resolution Foundation found people with disabilities had an available amount to spend that was about 44% lower than that of other working-age adults, exposing them hugely to the rising cost of essentials. Read more.

Social deprivation in the UK is increasingly affecting children’s health. Read more.

Around £1.2 billion was borrowed on credit cards in November, marking the highest amount since March 2004. Read more.

Research developments

The fall in incomes in 2023-24 is set to be largest single-year fall since 1975, and the two-year fall of 7 per cent (or £2,100 for a typical household) is bigger than in the Financial Crisis, where there was a two-year decline of 5 per cent. This decline will take typical incomes in 2023-24 to where they were in 2018-19 – and lower than they were in 2016- 17 – and would mean that this becomes the worst Parliament on record for living standards. Read more.

Employers have limited experience hiring young people who experience disadvantage. A quarter of employers have no experience of hiring younger workers who face one or more forms of disadvantage, such as physical or mental health conditions, low qualifications, lack of work experience, a history of unemployment, or caring responsibilities (25 per cent on average). Read more.

January 4th, 2023

A third of Brits are saving less than £100 a month due to cost of living crisis. Read more.

UK Universities could see rise in dropouts due to cost-of-living crisis, chief executive admits.  Read more.

New mums are ‘first to lose their jobs’ in cost-of-living crisis. Read more.

Two-thirds of UK consumers plan to cut non-essentials in 2023. Read more.

Research from YouGov for the Warm This Winter campaign shows 18% of the population (9.02 million adults) are living in cold and damp homes this month. Read more.

Cost of living: The hidden poverty in England’s least deprived area. Read more.

Research developments

The underlying disposable income gap between the disabled (£19,319) and non-disabled population (£27,766) was 44 per cent in 2020-21: down from 54 per cent a decade ago. Read more.

December 21st, 2022

UK inflation eases slightly to 10.7%, but cost of living crisis grinds on – as it happened. Read more.

UK’s lowest earners still struggling, with 4.7 million behind on bills, says report. Read more.

2.5 million pre-retirees to delay retirement due to cost-of-living crisis. Read more.

In a survey of 2000 parents and carers of children under 18 in the UK, carried out in November and published on Monday, most respondents (86 per cent) reported being under financial strain. Read more.

Valuing and redesigning care will help solve poverty – and benefit all of us. Read more.

Deductions to universal credit loans and bills will cause destitution as families struggle to keep up with fuel payments. Read more.

December 14th, 2022

Report: a ‘universal childcare guarantee’ would boost the economy by £13 billion a year. Read more.

Making health services work for deprived populations in the North East. Read more.

Cost-of-living: ‘It upsets me that I rely on a food bank to eat’. Read more.

Workers in the UK are becoming so anxious about the cost-of-living crisis that it is affecting their performance at work, with two-thirds of managers reporting issues such as rising absenteeism and lack of engagement among stressed-out staff. Read more

Research developments

Homes with poorly insulated walls are ubiquitous, but there are also pockets of acute need. 64 per cent of homes in London, and more than 40 per cent in other core cities, have poor or very poor walls, for example. There is also a clear social gradient: four-in-ten (40 per cent) homes in the poorest neighbourhoods have inefficient walls, for example, compared to just over three-in-ten (32 per cent) in the richest of places. Read more.

A new report commissioned by the Child Poverty Action Group (CPAG) in Scotland from the Centre for Research in Social Policy at Loughborough University has found a widening gap between the cost of raising a child in Scotland and actual family incomes, despite the significant impact of Scottish government policies and lower childcare costs. Read more.

December 6th, 2022

Students will be hit harder by the cost-of-living crisis than previously thought. Poorest students will be more than £1,000 worse off than in 2020 – 21. Read more

Nearly seven in ten people (67%) are worried about being able to afford Christmas dinner this year amid the cost-of-living crisis, according to a survey by The Salvation Army. Read more.

Nearly two in five (39%) defined benefit (DB) pension scheme members fear they will not have enough money to see them through retirement, according to a poll. Read more.

Research developments

A survey of school aged children aged between 7 and 16 found that 40% reported being food insecure over the last month. Of these (112 children out of 280 sampled at random in state schools).  Nearly 10% sadly revealed that they have had ‘many experiences’ of food poverty and 12.5% have had ‘several experiences’ over the last month. Read more.

The number of households in fuel poverty will increase to 8.4 million from April – up from last October’s 4.5 million – when Government support drops despite spiralling prices, campaigners have predicted. National Energy Action (NEA) said those in fuel poverty will include 1.8 million carers, 5.9 million low income, and financially vulnerable households, 3.6 million people with a disability and 1.6 million households in homes without a gas supply. Read more.

More than one in seven (15 per cent) pensioners have ‘unretired’ as a response to the current cost-of-living crisis, research from Standard Life has revealed. Read more.

November 30th, 2022

The latest survey from the Office for National Statistics (ONS) exposes divisions across the country in terms of how people are being affected by higher living costs. Those in England’s most deprived districts more frequently reported spending less on food and essentials in the fortnight up to 20 November, 58% saying so compared with a third of those living in the least deprived areas. Read more.

Fresh fruit and veg prescribed to low-income families in UK trial. Read more.

The North East Child Poverty Commissions says childcare is the single biggest barrier to employment and increasing working hours. Read more.

‘I’m knackered’: people forced to take second jobs amid cost of living crisis. Read more.

One in five Muslims living in the UK are struggling to afford their household bills and have been dependent on a food bank since August 2021, according to research conducted by Muslim Census. Read more.

More than a million Brits under the age of 45 could rule themselves out of the first-time buyer market as the cost of living bites. Read more.

Half of students surveyed by the Office for National Statistics say they are experiencing financial difficulties, and 15% say they are having major money problems. Read more.

In its report Over the Odds, the Centre for Social Justice (CSJ) finds that in at least seven key areas the poorest face a ‘poverty premium’ rate, including areas such as the price of credit and prepayment meters, which could be costing such families around £480 a year.  Read more.

A fifth of the UK workforce (19%) plan to leave their current job for a role offering a higher salary if the cost-of-living crisis continues or gets worse next year, according to a new study.’ Read more.

Across England, 22% of households will face fuel poverty this winter, but for those households with young children (0-4 years old), the figure rises to 35%. Read more.

Poorer women in Britain have some of the highest death rates from cancer in Europe, an in-depth new World Health Organization study has found. Read more.

Research developments

A new study conducted at the University of Exeter has concluded that a person’s financial circumstances in childhood were significantly linked to their sense of well-being once they reached the age bracket of 41–65. Read more.

November 23rd. 2022

There are calls for an urgent government investigation into children missing school due to the cost-of-living crisis. One in five pupils from poorer backgrounds were persistently absent last year, official figures show. Read more.

UK must act over poverty, housing and equal rights, says UN body. Read more

UK public sector workers are bearing the brunt of the cost-of-living crisis, according to official figures that show the gap between public and private sector pay growth is at its widest on record. Read more.

The disability pay gap is at 17.2% across the UK which equates to disabled workers earning an average of £3,731 less than non-disabled colleagues. As a result, disabled workers in effect work 54 days a year for free. Read more.

Just over two-fifths (43%) have either reduced or stopped saving for retirement due to the cost-of-living crisis, according to research by retirement specialist Just Group. Read more.

The polling of 6,000 adults by Survation for Britain’s biggest union Unite shows ‘fear of pension poverty’ is a concern among a ‘huge section of workers’ when they consider their retirement. Read more.

Findings from a new UK study published by Heriot-Watt University, found ‘overwhelming evidence’ that people from Black and other minority ethnic communities face disproportionate levels of homelessness. Read more.

November 15th

Some 400,000 children in Scotland are now thought to be eligible for the Scottish Child Payment. The Joseph Rowntree Foundation said if the scheme was replicated across the rest of the UK, 5.3 million youngsters in England, Wales and Northern Ireland could benefit. Read more.

The number of Britons earning less than the real living wage is set to soar to 5.1 million next year, new research shared with The Independent has found. Around 3.5 million workers currently earn less than the real living wage – the sum paid voluntarily by thousands of UK employers based on what people need to afford basic living costs. Read more.

Hungry children miss out on free meals – and struggling schools cannot help. Read more.

Research developments

The Cost of a Child 2022 report produced for the Child Poverty Action Group [CPAG] by Loughborough University, finds that whereas last year these families could cover their minimum costs – helped by the temporary £20 universal credit uplift, this year, below-inflation uprating of benefits has left them 6% (£34 per week) short of a minimum, no-frills living standard. The CPAG says this is the biggest annual deterioration in living standards since its annual report began in 2012. Read more.

  • New research from non-profit People Like Us reveals that over half of professionals surveyed from a racially diverse background (52%) say government support will not see them through the next six months
  • 41% of ethnic minority professionals are worried about being made redundant due to rising costs, compared to 27% of their white counterparts
  • Ethnic minority professionals are more likely to borrow money, move in with family and skip meals due to the cost-of-living crisis.

Read more.

Older people will spend a higher share of their income on energy bills this winter than other age groups – with the over-75s expected to spend 8 per cent of their total household income on bills, even with significant government support – but younger households are most at risk of being unable to pay bills or falling into arrears, according to new research published by the Resolution Foundation. Read more.

‘It would mean so much’: parents on the need to expand free school meals. Read more.

Amid rocketing rates of diagnosis for anxiety, and with 7.3 million English adults already having received antidepressants by 2017-18, a new report from the Joseph Rowntree Foundation establishes many connections between financial insecurity and poor mental health. Read more.

November 9th, 2022

Britain is suffering the worst cost of living crunch of any G7 nation, as the combined effects of the pandemic and the energy crisis drain households’ finances. Real household incomes per capita in the UK dropped by 3.5pc between the end of 2019 and the second quarter of this year, according to the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD). Read more.

New research reveals 2.1 million people have increased their alcohol use, while 61% of those said stress over rising prices was the most significant trigger. Read more.

Gateshead-based Society Matters CIC is holding free poverty alleviation workshops, strategy sessions and employee surveys. Read more.

One in four Europeans describe their financial position as “precarious”, more than half see a serious risk it will become so over the coming months, and 80% have already been forced into hard spending choices, according to a survey. Read more.

Two thirds of people aged between 18 and 34 years old say they have taken on new debt due to the cost-of-living crisis, new research reveals. Read more.

New research, conducted by Eden Project Communities, found that one million people now report suffering from chronic loneliness – 1 in 8 people – despite the end of social distancing measures. Read more.

More than a quarter of people have started using their credit cards to buy food and a fifth have borrowed money to adjust to rising prices this year. Figures from a new poll carried out by Ipsos for Sky News also show that a quarter of people have sold belongings and 24% have skipped meals, while half of people are socialising less. Read more.

Research developments

Nine million people across the UK have no savings and another five million have less than £100, according to new research from the Money and Pensions Service (MaPS).The survey of 3,000 adults, carried out for Talk Money Week (November 7-11), shows that one in six (17%) have nothing put away and another one in ten (9%) have £100 or less. Read more.

Figures suggest more than a third of children in Wales are now classed as living in poverty, more than anywhere else in the UK. The Audit Office has called for renewed focus across every tier of government in Wales to address the issue. Read more.

If mortgage rates remain around 5.5% an extra 400,000 people will be dragged into poverty, according to the Joseph Rowntree Foundation. Read more.

More than 1 in 4 (28.4%) children with care worker parents are growing up in poverty, according to new TUC analysis published. Read more.

November 1st, 2022

The number of 16- and 17-year-olds is rising rapidly as a result of a population boom moving through the education system. Second, the impact of the pandemic remains significant, with changes in young people’s education decisions and the effects of lost learning. Third, just like everyone, colleges, and sixth forms are facing rising costs as a result of rising levels of inflation. Read more.

The prices of staples such as pasta, tea and chips have surged in the UK in the past year, with cooking oil shooting up 65%, according to figures that highlight how poorer households are being hit disproportionately by the cost-of-living crisis. Read more.

Almost half of adults finding it difficult to afford their bills – with numbers rising.  Read more.

The number of staff leaving the NHS pension scheme has doubled from 30,270 to 66,167 in just one year, according to an analysis by The Royal College of Nursing. Read more.

Povertyism’ restricts access to education, housing, employment and social benefits and must be outlawed, says special rapporteur. Read more.

A report suggests 3.2 million UK adults are affected by so-called hygiene poverty – with 12% saying they have avoided facing colleagues as a result. Read more.

Figures from the homeless charity Crisis and Zoopla show that affordable homes in England, for those on housing allowance, have declined by more than a third It means only 8% of private rental properties, on average, are now affordable to those on housing benefits. Read more.

Councils across England are “quietly” axing holiday food voucher schemes for children on free school meals, which has left many families desperate this half-term, headteachers and charities warn. Read more.

Research developments

The Resolution foundation found that discretionary crisis support fell significantly in the lead up to the COVID-19 pandemic, while spending on Discretionary Housing Payments (DHPs) has increased seven-fold.

It also noted that increases in discretionary support – notably, increases to DHPs in 2013 and to the Household Support Fund in 2021 – have coincided with £29bn of cuts to entitlement-based benefits, which led the think tank to conclude that despite the increases, discretionary support is ‘over-burdened.’ Read more.

October 27th, 2022

New poll reveals over half of all parents with young children in Britain – over 2 million families – are struggling financially or with their mental health, as 1 in 3 struggle to get professional support. Read more. 

The Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) has found 7.8 million people are finding it a heavy burden to keep up with their bills, an increase of around 2.5 million people since 2020. Read more. 

1 in 7 people in the UK are skipping meals or going without food, a new TUC mega poll has revealed. Read more. 

London-based charity Little Village runs over 200 ‘baby banks’ across the UK and surveyed its workers who revealed the shocking length parents are going to in order to survive.

The results of the survey found that 91% of banks said they’d seen children wearing ill-fitting clothes or shoes, while 87% say parents are rationing nappies. One child in the north-east of England even developed grade three pressure sores due to extreme rationing of nappies. Read more. 

A study carried out by the MRC/CSO Social and Public Health Sciences Unit at the University of Glasgow revealed “stark and concerning data” – including that children living in deprived areas are 2.6 times as likely to die before their first birthday as children in less deprived areas. Read more. 

Research developments 

The use of temporary accommodation has increased over the last decade and is now back to the record levels last seen in the mid-2000s, according to the Smith Institute. Most of the increase has been driven by London and Greater Manchester, which combined account for 63% of all temporary accommodation in England.

The number of children living in temporary accommodation in London has increased by almost 60% between 2011-2022. On current trends the numbers of children in temporary accommodation in London and Greater Manchester could reach 100,000 by next year, the report warns. Read more.

October 18th, 2022

Cost of living: Measures to help poorest tackle fuel poverty this winter £14bn short, say campaigners. Read more.

DWP Universal Credit payments face £40 a week cut if inflation ignored in benefits rise. Read more.

‘Lives will be lost if benefits and wages don’t rise with inflation’. Read more.

A new study by accounting firm PwC shows that the cost of extending free school meals to all school children in poverty is far outweighed by the benefits, with PwC reporting a net benefit of £2.4bn over 20 years. 72 per cent of the public in England back the expansion of free school meals to all children on universal credit, according to a poll by You Gov. Read more.

100,000 pupils in the North West are missing out on free school meals. This amounts to 30% in poverty. Read more.

Cost of living crisis: ‘I am shivering while I’m on dialysis’. Read more.

Cost of living crisis: are you missing out on help from your employer? Read more.

The Resolution Foundation, which focuses on issues facing lower-income households, said more than 5 million families will see their annual mortgage payments rise by an average of 5,100 pounds over the next two years. Read more.

Some 1.8 million children face poorer quality school meals as a result of the rising cost of food, according to a new survey. Read more.

The cost-of-living crisis will force students to choose between studying and eating. Read more.

The cost of living crisis is placing nearly 300,000 UK students in financial peril, with a disproportionate number of older, working-class or Black students likely to drop out, according to analysis by a university group. Read more.

The cost-of-living crisis is wreaking havoc on our children’s mental health. Read more.

Research developments

Analysis reveals a quarter of the UK’s residential care workers lived in, or were on the brink of, poverty. Nearly 1 in 10 experienced food insecurity. And around 1 in 8 children of residential care workers were ‘materially deprived’, meaning they may not have access to essential resources such as fresh fruit and vegetables or adequate winter clothing. Read more.

October 11th, 2022

New research by careers platform Bright Network, shared with Sky News, reveals students expect starting salaries to be over £30,000 – 25% more than the current national average starting salary. Read more.

Due to the impact and stress because of the rising cost of living, the undergraduate student surveyed expressed “genuine concerns around the economic climate, their careers and future working life”. If benefits rise in line with wages rather than inflation then 200,000 more children will be pushed into poverty, new analysis suggests. Read more.

Low-income households will be almost £400 a year worse off under No 10’s plans to increase benefits at a lower rate than inflation, new analysis for the Observer has revealed. Read more.

According to a poll of 2,000 people, all at least 66 years old, 6 percent are likely to seek employment in the coming month to top up their pension pot or help pay the bills, they told My Pension Expert. There are 12.2 million retirees in the UK [PDF], so this could equate to roughly 730,000 people back on the jobs market in the months ahead – if the study is correct. Read more.

One-fifth of Britons say they are being forced to borrow more money to meet their payments, with half unable to save at all, in a sign that households are feeling the pain of the cost-of-living crisis. Read more.

Attainment among seven-year-olds in England has fallen sharply across all subjects in the first set of tests since before the pandemic, with disadvantaged children’s results dropping even further behind, according to government data. Results for this year’s key stage 1 (KS1) tests show a significant decline in attainment in reading, maths and, most dramatically, writing, in which the proportion of year 2 pupils reaching the expected standard declined by 11 percentage points. Read more.

Research by Age Scotland has revealed 76% of people over the age of 50 are ‘concerned’ about paying their fuel bills. The country’s largest charity for older people, spoke to over 1,000 people aged 50 or over and discovered four in 10 struggled with fuel poverty throughout the summer. Read more.

Across England, the rate of referrals of under-18s in the poorest neighbourhoods to secondary mental health services was 57% higher in 2019/20 than in the least deprived neighbourhoods. In some local authorities, it was more than twice as high in the poorest neighbourhoods as the richest ones. Read more.

Research developments

Women are bearing the brunt of the cost-of-living crisis and its damaging impact on anxiety and mental health the BPS has warned, as new figures reveal that 61 per cent of females say they are more anxious about being able to pay their bills than this time last year, compared to 47 per cent of males. Read more.

Black and minority ethnic people are disproportionately falling faster and further below the poverty line amidst the cost-of-living crisis. Falling Faster shows that Black and minority ethnic people are 2.5 times more likely to be in relative poverty, and 2.2 times more likely to be in deep poverty (having an income that falls more than 50% below the relative poverty line), than their white counterparts. Read more.

Polling by YouGov for the Joseph Rowntree Foundation this week found that 61% of the public agreed that benefits should go up in line with inflation, including half (49%) of 2019 Conservative voters. Just one in five (19%) instead believe there should be a rise below inflation, as has been proposed by the Government, with only 7% believing there shouldn’t be a rise at all. This represents a firm majority on an issue which has only been in the public eye for just over a week and reflects a longer-term trend around views on social security and the need for the system to provide people with enough to live on. Read more.

The freezing of the £50,000 threshold at which child benefit begins to be withdrawn has led to 26% of families with children (2 million) now losing some or all of their child benefit – double the proportion when the policy was introduced a decade ago. In addition, the frozen benefit cap means the number of families with capped benefits could hit around quarter of a million in 2025–26 – double the current figure, and three-and-a-half times as many as when the cap was last actively reformed in 2016. Read more.

For every £1 given to households through headline cuts to taxes, £2 is being taken away in stealthy freezes. Read more.

Rising costs mean district councils face a total budget shortfall of over £900m across 2022-23 and 2023-24, due to rising inflation and pay pressures, according to new DCN analysis. The DCN says these budget pressures would make it much harder for their councils to keep the preventative services they run going – at precisely the time when need is greatest. Sixty-six per cent of respondents to their survey said they are considering reducing community support and resilience services, 37% are considering cutting back welfare support, and 20% are considering a scaling-back of homelessness support. Read more.

The study, led by the Glasgow Centre for Population Health (GCPH) and the University of Glasgow, and published in the Journal of Epidemiology and Community Health, reports that compared to what previous trends predicted, an additional 335,000 deaths were observed across Scotland, England and Wales between 2012 and 2019. Read more.

The Joseph Rowntree Foundation (JRF) found that nearly one in five households on low incomes in Scotland have gone both hungry and cold this year. Its report shows that people are “desperately” cutting back, with 65 per cent saying they have cut back on an essential, while one in four have cut back on three or more essentials. Read more.

A third of primary school teachers are struggling to afford food as a result of the cost-of-living crisis, sparking concerns for children’s education. In a poll shared exclusively with The Independent, nearly 30 per cent said financial pressures were also impacting their ability to do their job well. Read more.

A survey of 2,300 adults in professional jobs by CV-Library found that more than one in four is already trying to get better paid work, while one in 10 said the state of the economy made them want to sit tight and stay where they are. Read more.

Nearly everyone (91%) polled by the Office for National Statistics (ONS) said their costs had increased in the last year. As a result, 19% of working adults reported they are looking for a job that pays more money – that could include a promotion or moving to a different employer, the ONS said. Moreover, 15% said they are working extra hours in their job because costs are rising so they need more money. Around 4% said they have taken pm another job to help meet their costs. Read more.

New analysis by the Joseph Rowntree Foundation (JRF) has shown that if the Government chooses to renege on the pledge made in April by then-Chancellor Rishi Sunak to uprate benefits in line with inflation as usual, it will amount to the largest permanent deliberate real-terms cut to the basic rate of benefits in history.

Key findings:

  • The suggested increase of 5.4%, would amount to the biggest permanent real-terms cut to the basic rate of benefits ever made in a single year.
  • Failing to uprate benefits in line with inflation combined with personal tax changes made at the fiscal statement would be profoundly regressive, with the poorest 10% losing 2.6% of their income (£214 a year) while the richest 10% gain 4.3% or over £5000.

Read more.

A quarter of parents with at least one child under 18 have reduced the quantity of food they buy to ensure they can afford other household essentials including gas and electricity bills, which are due to rise from Saturday. A YouGov poll commissioned by the National Energy Action and Food Foundation charities showed 28% of parents have also reduced the quality of food they were buying. The survey of 4,280 adults found that more than one in 10 parents had eaten cold meals, or ones that did not require cooking, to save money on energy.  Read more.

One job is not enough for 5.2 million UK workers as the cost-of-living crisis continues to bite, with a further 10 million workers considering taking on another job if costs continue to rise

  • Working more hours not a realistic option for over a quarter (28%) of full-time employees already working over 48 hours a week
  • Day to day costs are taking their toll with nearly a third (31%) of people already having to spend money they don’t have, borrowing or using their bank overdraft
  • Over three fifths (64%) say they’re overwhelmed

Read more.

The over-50s who have walked away from their jobs since the pandemic have increasingly considered returning to work in recent months because they need more money, according to figures from the Office for National Statistics (ONS). The survey, conducted in August, found that a massive 72% of people in their 50s would consider going back to work, compared with 58% who said so in February. Read more.

Of those born between 1981 and 1996, more than half say they are struggling to stay on top of their money, while 70 per cent said the cost-of-living crisis is having both short-term and long-term effects on their financial goals. Read more.

More than a third (36%) of savers say they are relying on their savings to get them through the cost-of-living crisis, according to the Building Societies Association (BSA). However, one in seven (13%) people say they have no savings at all, while a third (33%) say if they lost their income they would not have enough savings to cover their living costs for a month. The research was released to mark the launch of UK Savings Week, which runs from September 26 to October 2. Read more.

October 3rd

A rising number of poor families in Glasgow are being forced to live on £115 per week below the poverty line on average, a report shows. Read more.

Concerns Coventry children are not claiming free school meals due to ‘stigma’. Read more.

The cost-of-living crisis could add £3.7bn to the costs of delivering adult social care, the County Councils Network has warned. Read more.

The Progressive Economy Forum (PEF) said the poorest tenth of families could face bills amounting to 47% of their disposable income this winter, even after the support from the Prime Minister’s energy price guarantee is taken into account. Read more.

More than 3 million people in the north of England are at risk of social exclusion as a result of poor transport services, research has found. Read more.

Analysis by The Children’s society indicates that around one in eight children aged between 10 and 15-years-old were unhappy in school in 2019/2020. The charity also found that around 6% were unhappy with their lives overall, having carried out a survey of more than 2,000 children aged between 10 and 17 in the UK, as well as their parent or carer. Data published by the UK

Understanding Society, covering 40,000 UK households annually, indicates that on average,
happiness with life as a whole, friends, appearance and school were all significantly lower in the latest figures than a decade previously in 2009/2010. Read more.

According to the Resolution Foundation, households in London and the south-east could gain an average of £1,600 next year from Friday’s fiscal statement. This is three times as much as those in Wales, the north-east and Yorkshire, which it predicts will gain an average of £500. Read more.

Research developments

Almost two in five children in the North East (38%) are living in poverty.  This rises to almost half  (47%) of NE children living in a household with an under 5.  Both are now the highest rates of any UK nation or region, with the North East experiencing by far the steepest increases in child poverty in the country in recent years. Read more.

The Kerslake Commission on Homelessness and Rough Sleeping has published a new report which assesses the steps made towards ending rough sleeping in England and considers the impact of the current economic crisis. Read more.

This briefing gives an overview of rising prices, particularly food, energy and fuel prices, including the effect of the conflict in Ukraine. It outlines Government support as well as how inflation, interest rates and other policies which will affect household budgets. Read more.

The cost-of-living crisis is hitting people living in rural areas harder than those living in towns and cities, according to a new report. In rural areas, these median earnings amount to £23,117 per annum across all workers, and £28,065 for full time workers, compared to £24,540 and £29,612 respectively in predominantly urban areas.  Read more.  

Cost-of-living is directly harming child health, paediatricians warn. A survey of nearly 500 paediatricians by the college found that almost two thirds (60%) believed that the crisis was already affecting the health and wellbeing of children.  Read more.  

September 27th, 2022

A rising number of poor families in Glasgow are being forced to live on £115 per week below the poverty line on average, a report shows. Read more.

Concerns Coventry children are not claiming free school meals due to ‘stigma’. Read more.

The cost-of-living crisis could add £3.7bn to the costs of delivering adult social care, the County Councils Network has warned. Read more.

The Progressive Economy Forum (PEF) said the poorest tenth of families could face bills amounting to 47% of their disposable income this winter, even after the support from Liz Truss’ energy price guarantee is taken into account. Read more.

More than 3 million people in the north of England are at risk of social exclusion as a result of poor transport services, research has found. Read more.

Analysis by The Children’s society indicates that around one in eight children aged between 10 and 15-years-old were unhappy in school in 2019/2020. The charity also found that around 6% were unhappy with their lives overall, having carried out a survey of more than 2,000 children aged between 10 and 17 in the UK, as well as their parent or carer. Data published by the UK Understanding Society, covering 40,000 UK households annually, indicates that on average, happiness with life as a whole, friends, appearance and school were all significantly lower in the latest figures than a decade previously in 2009/2010. Read more.

According to the Resolution Foundation, households in London and the south-east could gain an average of £1,600 next year from Friday’s fiscal statement. This is three times as much as those in Wales, the north-east and Yorkshire, which it predicts will gain an average of £500. Read more.

Research developments

Almost two in five children in the North East (38%) are living in poverty.  This rises to almost half – 47% – of North East children living in a household with an under 5.  Both are now the highest rates of any UK nation or region, with the North East experiencing by far the steepest increases in child poverty in the country in recent years. Read more.

The Kerslake Commission on Homelessness and Rough Sleeping has published a new report which assesses the steps made towards ending rough sleeping in England and considers the impact of the current economic crisis. Read more.

This briefing gives an overview of rising prices, particularly food, energy and fuel prices, including the effect of the conflict in Ukraine. It outlines Government support as well as how inflation, interest rates and other policies which will affect household budgets. Read more.

The cost-of-living crisis is hitting people living in rural areas harder than those living in towns and cities, according to a new report. In rural areas, these median earnings amount to £23,117 per annum across all workers, and £28,065 for full time workers, compared to £24,540 and £29,612 respectively in predominantly urban areas.  Read more.  

Cost-of-living is directly harming child health, paediatricians warn. A survey of nearly 500 paediatricians by the college found that almost two thirds (60%) believed that the crisis was already affecting the health and wellbeing of children.  Read more.  

September 20th, 2022

Almost 400,000 have exited the jobs market with long-term health problems since early 2020, ONS says. Read more.

Around two million children will be hit by a cruel government ruling rejecting a benefit deduction shake-up as energy prices rocket. Read more.

The number of children in Manchester who are eligible for free school meals has risen by nearly 14 pc in 18 months as the total topped 38,000 last year. More than two in five children in the city were entitled to free school meals in May 2022 when the last school census was completed by Manchester City Council. Read more.

Child poverty campaigners are urging the government to reconsider a proposal to pause deductions to benefits this winter to ease the financial pressure on struggling families. Read more.

Cost-of-living crisis: How to help your employees. Read more.

Research developments

78% of workers paid below the real Living Wage – 3.7m workers nationally – say the cost-of-living crisis is the worst financial period they have ever faced. Read more.

Half of Britons (49%) think a great deal or fair amount of period poverty exists in the UK, including 38% of men and 59% of women. Read more.

The pension adviser commissioned an independent survey of 1,254 adults and found 37per cent of those in work believe the cost-of-living crisis has made retirement impossible for the foreseeable future. Read more.

September 13th, 2022

Government announces Energy Price Guarantee for families and businesses while urgently taking action to reform broken energy market. Read more.

More than one million more people will be forced into poverty this winter, pushing UK deprivation levels to their highest for two decades – even if the government freezes energy. The Legatum Institute warned the number of people in poverty will rise from 13.9million in 2019/20 to 15.2million in 2022/23 if energy bills stay at this summer’s levels. Read more.

UK families and individuals are facing the biggest energy crisis-driven income squeeze in Western Europe. That’s according to analysis by the International Monetary Fund (IMF) which suggests the cost burden between poor and rich households is far more uneven in Britain than in any other country in Europe. Read more.

Cost of living crisis: what governments around the world are doing to help. From cancelling student loan debt to raising minimum wage, different strategies aim to reduce effects of soaring prices. Read more.

Universal free school meals begin in Wales for the youngest children. Read more.

The disadvantage disparity index reached 3.21 this year, up from 2.91 when exams last took place in 2019 and its highest level since 2012, revealed a Department for Education analysis released on Monday. The figures, based on the key stage two exams (or Sats) results of 11-year-olds in reading, writing and maths, support previous findings that poorer children were disproportionately affected by learning loss after lessons moved online in March 2020. Read more.

Cost of energy crisis piles more pressure on UK’s National Health Service and social care. A Freedom of Information (FOI) request by the Metro newspaper found that Manchester University NHS Foundation Trust, one of the busiest in the country, expected its energy bills to rise by £4 million in the next financial year. Read more.

Research developments

The TUC believes the policy and design of Universal Credit are fundamentally flawed. They believe we need a replacement for Universal Credit. The TUC set up an informal working group of union representatives and experts to examine what a replacement for the Universal Credit system could look like. Read more.

New research shows that minority ethnic workers in the UK are disproportionately paid below the real Living Wage: 33% of Bangladeshi workers, 29% Pakistani workers and 25% Black workers are earning below the Living Wage, compared to 20% of White British workers; Over half (56%) of minority ethnic workers said they had been discriminated against at work, with over a third (34%) having been passed up for a promotion due to their ethnicity. Read more.

The Trussell Trust has published new research highlighting the devastating impact the cost-of-living crisis is having on people forced to survive on the lowest incomes. The research, a YouGov survey of 1,846 people in receipt of Universal Credit during August 2022, found more than two million people had skipped meals across the previous three months to keep up with other essential costs. Read more.

September 6th, 2022

A survey of more than 2,000 UK adults found 23% would do without heating over the winter months. That figure was even higher for parents with children under the age of 18, with 27% saying they would be forced to leave the radiators cold. Read more.

Analysis by Crisis finds that the outgoings of the lowest income households – those earning on average £12,650 – would exceed their average monthly incomes by a third. This is based on an energy price cap of £4,500.In the worst-case scenario, the analysis suggests that at least 1.7 million renting households on the lowest incomes will be spending on average 133% of their monthly income on rent, food and energy in January, pushing many to the brink of homelessness and financial destitution. Read more.

The latest Deadline to Breadline report from Legal & General has found UK households’ financial resilience has shrunk by 21% since 2020 (from 24 days to 19 days). People overestimate (by nearly six weeks – actually 41 days) how long they could fund basic living costs (such as housing costs, loans/ credit card repayments, utility bills and food) if they lost their income. Read more.

Data from the Bank of England showed that the annual rate of credit card borrowing was 13 per cent higher in July than a year before. The jump, the biggest since October 2005, comes as wages fail to keep pace with inflation, which has already hit 10 per cent, with some investment banks suggesting it could roughly double by the turn of the year. Read more.

Under-24s receiving universal credit rose from 26,392 new applicants in June to 39,007 in July, the highest jump so far this year for the 16 to 24 age group. That figure is almost 8,000 higher than the previous highest total of 31,353 recorded in February. Read more.


Fuel poverty, cold homes and health inequalities in the UK -This report reviews the evidence on both the direct and indirect impacts of fuel poverty and cold homes on health; the inequalities in who this effects the most, and the relation between health inequalities and climate change. The report makes the case for prioritising reducing fuel poverty through policy suggestions at both the national and local level. Read more.

Households where the mother is aged 25 or under are one of the six priority family groups highlighted as being at a higher risk of poverty. Over half (55%) of children in households with a mother aged under 25 were in relative poverty in 2015-18, compared to 24% of children overall. Read more.

The Resolution Foundation thinktank said soaring energy bills would cut household incomes by 10% and push an extra 3 million people into poverty. Read more.

The social innovation foundation commissioned Opinium Research to survey 5,000 UK parents between August 18 and 22.It believes it is the largest survey of UK parents since the start of the pandemic in January 2020. The polling found 74% were concerned about paying for gas and electricity, while two-thirds (67%) were worried about paying for food and petrol. Worries were highest among parents earning the least – with 82% of parents in households earning £20,000 or less worried about paying for gas and electricity and 76% worried about paying for food. Read more.

August 30th, 2022

One in five schools with the poorest students said child hunger had increased in their community over the past year – and more report higher levels of poverty – polling seen by i revealed Read more.

Almost all teachers in the survey admitted that some of the children in their care need more basic hygiene items, as currently parents are having to pick between food and soap. More than three quarters said that hygiene poverty is a serious issue they see repeatedly in UK classrooms – and worry it could prevent children from reaching their potential at school. Read more.

Households in Great Britain face a leap in energy bills from October after the regulator raised the energy price cap, taking the average gas and electricity bill to £3,549 a year. Read more.

Britain’s independent brewers have urged ministers to step in to save the sector, as research revealed more than 70% of pubs do not expect to survive the winter if nothing is done to ease energy costs. Read more.

Youth homelessness charity Centrepoint points out that the new cost of an average energy bill is more than the amount of universal credit a young person aged under 25 receives (£3,183) in a year.  Centrepoint says its own research has shown a quarter of homeless young people have £20 or less of monthly income left after rent and bills and warn that the latest energy price rises, alongside other rising costs of living, will leave many struggling to pay for food and other essentials. Read more.

Already, 800,000 children living in poverty in England do not qualify for free school meals, according to the Child Poverty Action Group, and now headteachers are bracing for rising numbers from homes that cannot afford to feed them properly. Read more.

There are now 1.08 million people borrowing from a loan shark, recent research from think tank the Centre for Social Justice shows. This is over 700,000 more than the official estimate. This increase occurred before the cost-of-living crisis and dramatic rise in fuel costs. Read more.

Research developments

New research by Sense reveals that higher costs for food and energy this year have put nearly three quarters (72 per cent) of families with a disabled child or adult into debt, with more than half (55 per cent) admitting to borrowing money from friends and family. Two in five (40 per cent) say they will go without food to save money, with more than three quarters (77 per cent) saying the pressure is affecting their mental health. Read more.

More than half (58%) said it was having a ‘severe’ impact on the lives of people accessing service, with a further 33% saying the effect was ‘significant’. Dozens of comments left by the 253 survey respondents, about two-thirds of whom said they work in children’s services, made reference to rising food bank use. Some warned that local food banks were running out of supplies due to sharply increasing demand and the wider public no longer being able to afford to donate as much. Many others cited households facing desperate choices between heating and eating, with poverty leading to deteriorating housing conditions and for some the risk of homelessness.

“[The crisis is affecting] service users massively – most were already experiencing poverty before, now they are in dire straits,” one social worker said.  In all, 86% of survey respondents said they expected to see a large increase in demand for services over the next 12 months as winter arrives and the crisis bites even harder. Read more.

August 23rd, 2022

How to tackle the UK cost of living crisis – four economists have their say. This article highlights opinions from academics ranging from price controlling and winter rationing to commitment to quick implementation to protect the most vulnerable. Read more.

Research developments

The long squeeze: rising inflation and the current government support package. As poorer households devote more of their spending to energy, this means that the inflation rate the poorest quintile will experience is expected to rise to 18 % in October, compared to 11% for the richest quintile. Read more.

This bulletin contains highlights from official statistics on claims, starts, people and households (including payments) on Universal Credit for England, Scotland, and Wales (Great Britain).

Key findings

  • 9 million children in 2.1 million households with children were receiving Universal Credit as of May 2022, compared to 3.8 million children in 2 million households in February of this year.
  • Of children living in households on Universal Credit, 29% were aged 0-4 (1,127,023), and 34% were aged 5-10 (1,334,299), meaning that 63% of children living in households on Universal Credit were primary school age or younger.
  • 71% of families with children on UC – more than 1.5million households – are single-parent families.

Read more.

Most households are underestimating the massive energy price rises predicted in the coming months with some even believing they will fall, new research shows. Read more.

According to the latest ONS report, rising food prices are the biggest contributor to the alarming increase. There was an overall increase of 2.3% between June and July 2022, taking food annual inflation rate to 12.7% in July 2022, up from 9.8% in June. This has been fuelled largely by price rises for basics such as bread, milk, cheese and eggs. Read more.

Two-thirds of UK families could be in fuel poverty by January, research finds. The research shows 18 million families, the equivalent of 45 million people, will be left trying to make ends meet after further predicted rises in the energy price cap in October and January. An estimated 86.4% of pensioner couples are expected to fall into fuel poverty, traditionally defined as when energy costs exceed 10% of a household’s net income, and 90.4% of lone parents with two or more children. Read more.

This report looks at education inequalities, it highlights how the UK education system preserves inequality.

  • People with lower levels of qualifications are also more exposed to slow earnings growth over their lives, with less opportunity for pay progression throughout their careers. Strikingly, the most common annual salary for low-educated 45- to 50-year-olds (i.e. those with qualifications at or below GCSE or equivalent) is between £15,000 and £20,000 – the same as for 25- to 30-year-olds with those qualifications.
  • 16- year-olds who are eligible for free school meals are still around 27 percentage points less likely to earn good GCSEs than less disadvantaged peers. Children from disadvantaged backgrounds also make slower progress through secondary school: in the 2019 GCSE cohort, just 40% of disadvantaged children who achieved the expected level at age 11 went on to earn good GCSEs in English and maths, compared with 60% of their non-disadvantaged peers.

Read more.

Interesting findings about the impact of the Scottish Government Scottish Child Payment which households get in addition to child benefit.

The findings of this latest evaluation show:
Scottish Child Payment and its eligibility criteria are well understood,
Scottish Child Payment is taken up,
the application is clear and easy,
applications are processed in a timely manner,
awareness is raised about other forms of support, and
clients feel they have been treated with dignity, fairness and respect.

The Scottish Child Payment is set to increase to £25 per week and be rolled out to all children up to 16 years old by the end of the year. Read more.

August 17th, 2022

New cost-of-living initiative announced by the government

The government has launched Help for households a scheme that will see major businesses such as Asda, Amazon, and Vodafone over the summer holidays and through to Christmas provide discounts and new deals designed to support struggling families. For example, Asda is extending its £1 café meal for children aged 16 and under, seven days a week and no minimum adult spend is required.

While we welcome initiatives aimed at helping struggling families, the latest announcement is not a step in the right direction towards genuine solutions that can help with the rise in costs and bills. Launching the initiative, Boris Johnson said: ‘This won’t solve the issue overnight but it’s yet another weapon in our arsenal as we fight back against the scourge of rising prices and inflation.’

The initiative will not resolve anything, rather it demonstrates the worrying reality that the government is not doing enough to help low-income households. At GMPA, we believe that to tackle the widespread and growing poverty serious government intervention is required to get more money into people’s pockets.

GMPA is calling for urgent government action to address poverty including:

  • Reversing the £20 per week cut to universal credit
  • Increasing all benefits and pensions in line with inflation
  • Scrapping the benefit cap and two-child limit on children’s benefit
  • Strengthening local welfare assistance schemes
  • Introducing a national anti-poverty strategy

Cost-of-living support is already out of date

Two recently published Select Committee reports have raised concerns about the adequacy of the government’s cost-of-living support.

The Work and Pensions Committee’s inquiry into the cost-of-living report echo’s our calls for longer-term support and investment in the social security system and local welfare provision. Some of the recommendations included: increasing the speed of uprating benefits whilst pausing deductions from benefits, reviewing the appropriateness of continuing to rely on short-term funds, development of a new strategy to boost pension credit take up, and ensuring local authorities are well supported to deliver the discretionary funds.

Similarly, the Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy published a report emphasising that the scale of the upcoming winter energy price increases has meant that the May 2022 support package is insufficient.

A number of other recent reports have highlighting growing pressures facing low income households and widening inequalities.

  • A survey by arbrdn Financial Fairness Trust and the University of Bristol reveals that one in six households (4.4 million) are now in ‘serious difficulties’, compared to one in ten (2.8 million) in October 2021. Of those 4.4 million in serious financial difficulties, to make ends meet 71% have reduced the quality of food they eat, 36% have sold or pawned possessions and 27% have cancelled or not renewed insurance.
  • The impact of rising inflation is geographically unequal, a report by the Centre for Cities highlights that inflation is up to 30% higher in cities in the North. Findings from the report revealed that the inflation rate in Manchester in May 2022 was 10.1% whereas, in London and Cambridge, it was 8.8%.
  • A study by the Trade Union Congress (TUC) indicates that the number of children growing up in poverty in key worker households has increased by 65,000 in the last two years, to nearly one million. The North West has the second highest rate of child poverty in key worker households in the UK. 3 in 10 (29%) key worker households in the North West have children living in poverty.
  • According to a report from the University of Edinburgh’s Smart Data Foundry economic inactivity rates have risen a third among the over-50s since 2019, and people aged 50-54 face double the financial vulnerability risk than those aged 70-74. The report highlights that a combination of lack of employment opportunities, poor social security support, inadequate guidance on pensions, and the cost-of-living crisis is leading to long-term financial insecurity for many.
  • The Joseph Rowntree Foundations’ recent report has shown the impact of a decade of stagnant economic growth and a weakened social security system. Between 2002/03 and 2019/20 the risk of living in very deep poverty has: increased by over half for people living in large families (three or more children), to reach 18%.  Increased by a third for people in families with a disabled person, to reach 15%, and increased by a third for people in lone-parent families, to reach 19%.

The cost-of-living crisis will continue to intensify as inflation soars and government support lags. Organisations and campaigners must continue to call on the government to do more to tackle the harsh economic realities for the most vulnerable.


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