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UK poverty 2017: a comprehensive analysis of poverty trends and figures

Author:
JOSEPH ROWNTREE FOUNDATION
Publisher:
Joseph Rowntree Foundation
Publication year:
2017
Pagination:
113
Place of publication:
York

This report assesses the progress the UK is making in reducing poverty rates and tackling the underlying drivers of poverty, examining how UK poverty has changed over the last 20 years, as well as more recent developments. Nearly a quarter (24%) of the UK’s population lived in poverty 20 years ago. By 2004, this had fallen to one in five (20%) of the population. By 2015/16, the proportion had risen slightly to 22%. However, the overall trend masks large variations in the fortunes of different groups. Over the last 20 years the UK succeeded in reducing poverty significantly among those groups who had traditionally been at most risk – pensioners and some types of families with children. Very little progress was made in reducing poverty among working-age households without children. In more recent years, poverty rates have started to rise again among both pensioners and families with children. The report suggests that solving poverty in the UK will require urgent action in five areas: reform of Universal Credit so people keep more of what they earn and a lifting of the working-age benefits freeze so incomes keep up with prices; reduce the cost of living, particularly housing, for those on low incomes; improve education and skills, especially among children from low-income backgrounds and adults in low-paid work; work with employers and business to create more and better jobs where they are needed, and to offer more opportunities and better pay to people who currently struggle to enter and gain from work – particularly disabled people, those caring for adults or children, and part-time workers; work with communities and service providers to improve health, family relationships and social support to reduce the damage done by poverty and improve prospects. (Edited publisher abstract)

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Work and relationships over time in lone-mother families

Authors:
Millar Jane, RIDGE Tess
Publisher:
Joseph Rowntree Foundation
Publication year:
2017
Pagination:
39
Place of publication:
York

Drawing on data from in-depth interviews with 15 lone-mothers and their children, this research looks at what it means for families to have a lone-mother who is employed, managing work and family life, often on a low income, for long periods of time. For the study, families were interviewed four times over a period of 14 to 15 years. The report focuses on: the experiences of lone mothers trying to sustain work over time; the importance of family relationships in enabling and supporting lone mothers in work; the experience of children in helping their mothers to manage; the transitions for young people when moving away from the parental home and into work; young people’s relationships over time; the importance of state support for the mothers; and the difficulties in finding security over time. Findings from the study highlight the importance of close relationships for families trying to manage work and care; the difficulties for families of developing any security, with low levels of pay making it hard to build up resources; and the additional pressures long term poverty placed on relationships. (Edited publisher abstract)

Book Full text available online for free

A minimum income standard for the UK in 2017

Authors:
PADLEY Matt, HIRSCH Donald
Publisher:
Joseph Rowntree Foundation
Publication year:
2017
Pagination:
21
Place of publication:
York

This is the 2017 update of the Minimum Income Standard for the United Kingdom, based on what members of the public think people need for an acceptable minimum standard of living. The report shows: the incomes different family types require in 2017 to meet the minimum standard; how the cost of a minimum household budget has changed since the last update in 2016; and how the incomes of people on benefits, and of those working on the National Living Wage, compare to what they need according to MIS. The report states that in 2017, single people needed to earn at least £17,900 a year before tax to achieve MIS, and couples with two children at least £20,400 each. It suggests that despite the increase in the minimum wage for over-25s, working full time on the National Living Wage (NLW), many still fall short of MIS. The report concludes that the freezing of benefits in inflationary times is making low-income families systematically worse off, even where their earnings are being lifted by the NLW. (Edited publisher abstract)

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How poverty affects people's decision-making processes

Authors:
SHEEHY-SKEFFINGTON Jennifer, REA Jessica
Publisher:
Joseph Rowntree Foundation
Publication year:
2017
Pagination:
79
Place of publication:
York

This report summarises the most recent evidence on the relationship between socioeconomic status and the psychological, social and cultural processes that underpin decision-making. The studies reviewed present evidence that people living in or near poverty experience a shift in psychological, social and cultural processes that may hinder their ability to make decisions that are beneficial in the long term. Many of the suboptimal decisions and behaviours associated with low-income groups focus on the present (rather than the future), the actual (rather than the hypothetical), those socially close (rather than those socially distant), and the ‘here’ (rather than places far away). Such shifts lead to choices that are not always bad ones, but rather are adaptive to the constrained circumstances of low socio-economic status. By understanding the decision-making of people in poverty as an adaptive shift in underlying processes, policy-makers and others combating poverty can target their efforts in more sensitive, sustainable and ultimately empowering ways. (Edited publisher abstract)

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Universal Credit: a Joseph Rowntree Foundation briefing

Author:
SCHMUECKER Katie
Publisher:
Joseph Rowntree Foundation
Publication year:
2017
Pagination:
14
Place of publication:
York

This briefing looks at the implementation of Universal Credit across the UK and provides recommendations on how the system could be improved. The report generally welcomes the introduction of Universal Credit, which brings together six separate benefits into one integrated payment, but highlights three priorities for action to ensure that Universal Credit is successful in reducing poverty. These are: a reduction in waiting times for Universal Credit, increasing the child element of Universal Credit so it is not limited to the first two children only, and for Universal Credit to provide employment support to help people into work. (Edited publisher abstract)

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Monitoring poverty and social exclusion 2016

Authors:
TINSON Adam, et al
Publisher:
Joseph Rowntree Foundation
Publication year:
2016
Pagination:
148
Place of publication:
York

Annual State of the Nation report, commissioned by the Joseph Rowntree Foundation and carried out by the New Policy Institute, which brings together official data to present a comprehensive picture of poverty and social exclusion in the United Kingdom. The report focuses on five main themes: income, housing, life chances, which looks at the prospects of children and young people; social security (Edited publisher abstract)

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Talking about poverty: how experts and the public understand UK poverty

Authors:
VOLMERT Andrew, PINEAU Marisa Gertsein, KENDALL-TAYLOR Nathaniel
Publisher:
Joseph Rowntree Foundation
Publication year:
2016
Pagination:
4
Place of publication:
York

Summarises the findings of research to compare how experts and the public understand UK poverty and to provide an analysis of the overlaps and gaps between these ways of thinking. The ultimate aim of the research is to identify challenges in communicating about poverty, to shift negative public attitudes and develop strategies for building support. The research was based on interviews with researchers, policy stakeholders, practitioners and on 40 in-depth interviews with members of the public across the UK, complemented by on-the-street interviews. It identified key points about poverty that experts felt needed to be communicated more effectively. It also identified a number of 'cultural models', or shared assumptions and patterns of thinking, which shape the British public's view of poverty. It argues that these cultural models act as barriers to communicating expert perspectives on the causes and consequences of UK poverty. The research also identifies overlaps between expert and public understandings which can be used as to build public support for tackling poverty. These include: that society should provide for people’s basic needs, a recognition that the differential availability of opportunities as a cause of poverty, and that improvements in education, job training and housing provision are key measures for addressing UK poverty. Recommendations to improve communication about UK poverty are included. (Edited publisher abstract)

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Prosperity without poverty: a framework for action in Wales

Authors:
JOSEPH ROWNTREE FOUNDATION, BEVAN FOUNDATION
Publisher:
Joseph Rowntree Foundation
Publication year:
2016
Pagination:
36
Place of publication:
York

Drawing evidence and recommendations developed for a UK wide report, this document sets out a framework for action to be taken to tackle poverty in Wales. It takes a broad view of poverty, which covers more than relative-income measures or area-based deprivation approaches, and recognises that everyone has a role to play in combating poverty. The framework covers five key areas: economic growth and employment; improving the education and skills of the population; strengthening families and communities; reducing costs of essential goods and services to help those on low incomes; and also outlines five key principles to help support people and families with complex needs. The final section looks at how organisations and individuals should work together to take action. It outlines measures that government, employers, charities, communities and individuals themselves can do to take to reduce the risk of poverty. It also recommends that the UK Government to play its part, through an effective social security system, better regulation, fostering a favourable economic climate and a fair financial and fiscal framework for Wales. (Edited publisher abstract)

Book Full text available online for free

UK poverty: causes, costs and solutions

Author:
JOSEPH ROWNTREE FOUNDATION
Publisher:
Joseph Rowntree Foundation
Publication year:
2016
Pagination:
369
Place of publication:
York

A comprehensive report on UK poverty, examining causes, costs and solutions. To be in poverty is to have resources that are well below minimum needs, as a result of a lack of resources – most obviously, income – but also of steep prices for minimum needs. Low resources and high costs cause poverty, separately or together. It is estimated that 13.5 million people live in poverty in the UK. This report explains what poverty is and what causes it, highlights trends and projections in UK poverty, and makes recommendations for tackling: the high costs driving poverty, including housing; poverty in childhood; poverty in working age; poverty in later life; poverty for people with complex needs. The report argues that the problem of poverty can be solved by strengthening family life, ensuring all citizens have the skills they need to operate, fixing flaws in the benefits system, taking practical action to contain rising costs, and moving to more progressive employment and business practices. Solving poverty relies on economic growth, but the proceeds need to be distributed more fairly, and the underlying causes, such as low pay, low skills and high costs, need to be reduced. Where possible, the report has costed the policy recommendations and shown where there could be savings in the long term. The report calls on national and local governments, businesses, employers, providers of essential goods and services, housing providers, public service providers, investors and philanthropists, community, faith and voluntary sector groups and citizens to work together, to reduce the risk of people falling into poverty, mitigate their experiences when they are in poverty and make it easier for them to escape from it. (Edited publisher abstract)

Book Full text available online for free

We can solve poverty in the UK: a strategy for governments, businesses, communities and citizens

Author:
JOSEPH ROWNTREE FOUNDATION
Publisher:
Joseph Rowntree Foundation
Publication year:
2016
Pagination:
51
Place of publication:
York

Sets out a long-term strategy to solve poverty in the UK, aligning greater corporate responsibility with an active, enabling state, promoting individual and community capacity and capability. The report suggests that in the UK today there are five key causes that need priority action: unemployment, low wages and insecure jobs; lack of skills; family problems; an inadequate benefits system; and high costs. These result from an overlapping and shifting series of influences that include market opportunities, state support and individual decisions. The report sets out a five-point plan to solve poverty in the UK, aimed at: boosting incomes and reduce costs; delivering an effective benefit system; improving education standards and raise skills; strengthening families and communities; and promoting long-term economic growth benefiting everyone. Key recommendations for national and local governments include: a rebalanced economy with better jobs; supporting people into work and to get on at work; social security that is effective and makes work pay; supporting families; supporting people in later life; access to secure and affordable homes; and enabling local and community action. In addition, the report makes a number of specific recommendations for businesses, employers and providers of essential goods and services, service providers and housing providers, investors and philanthropists, and citizens and communities. (Edited publisher abstract)

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