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 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.

Research

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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