A report provided findings from a series of commissioned reviews of existing policy and research on a wide range of social issues related to poverty and poverty reduction in the United Kingdom. The report was presented in five sections: the bigger picture (including sections on: demographic change; devolution; gender; international anti-poverty strategies; regeneration; religion; sexual orientation; and well-being); welfare and work; money and the cost of living; education, personal relationships, and community; and complex needs. Some sections included links to more extensive reports.
Source: Reducing Poverty in the UK: A collection of evidence reviews, Joseph Rowntree Foundation
A report said that cuts in welfare spending in the United Kingdom were affecting people in work more than those on benefits, that pensioners were also affected by a substantial proportion of cuts, and that the introduction of universal credit would not improve the overall impact on working families.
Source: Benefit Cuts by Household Type: Who has been hit by the government's benefits cuts?, Trades Union Congress
A think-tank report examined possibilities for a measurement of earnings that included the self-employed. The report said that, at some points in time, calculations of average earnings levels that included self-employed workers would have been higher, but since the economic downturn they would have been consistently lower and the inclusion of self-employed earnings would worsen the figures on earnings levels since the pre-recession peak by between 20 and 30 per cent. The report called for an improved official measure of earnings that captured all workers, and the collection of better data that included more regular, accurate data on household income.
Source: Laura Gardiner, All Accounted For: The case for an 'all worker' earnings measure, Resolution Foundation
A think-tank report said that the United Kingdom still lacked an effective strategy for dealing with the issue of low paid work, and suggested a strategic framework for a co-ordinated low pay strategy, which explicitly aimed to reduce the share of low-wage jobs in the United Kingdom economy based on three actions: raising wage floors; enabling progression; and facilitating higher wage business models.
Source: Kathryn Ray, Beth Foley, and Ceri Hughes, Rising to the Challenge: A policy agenda to tackle low pay, Work Foundation
A paper examined the changing influences of pay, benefits, and taxes on the ability of working families to reach minimum living standards from the late 1990s onwards. It said that earlier gains were reversed in the 2008 recession, as earnings fell relative to prices and some in-work benefits were cut and, having come to rely on state support, low-income working families were affected by benefits changes. It said that the withdrawal rate of in-work benefits made it difficult to make up for any cuts to state support by increasing earnings, and that tax cuts had not fully offset the effect of reductions on in-work support. The paper considered future policy options to address the deterioration, including the known tax proposals of the three main United Kingdom political parties.
Source: Donald Hirsch and Laura Valadez, Wages, Taxes and Top-Ups: The changing role of the state in helping working families make ends meet, Joseph Rowntree Foundation
A report provided findings from the work of the Living Wage Commission. It concluded that over 1 million people could be removed from low pay by 2020, with no adverse economic consequences, through more employers voluntarily paying a living wage. It said that the cost of introducing the living wage to almost 500,000 public sector employees could be met by higher tax revenues and reduced in-work benefits from over 600,000 private sector employees also being brought up to the living wage. The report noted the consequences of low pay for in-work households, and called on the government to support the voluntary scheme.
Source: Work That Pays: The final report of the Living Wage Commission, Living Wage Commission
A report examined the parental employment outcomes (employment rates, hours of work, and earnings) that would be necessary to meet the absolute and relative child poverty targets set out in the Child Poverty Act 2010. It said that improvements to parental employment outcomes alone would not be sufficient, unless parental employment levels were close to 100 per cent and parents in in-work poverty significantly increased their working hours. The report said that financial support could be improved within existing fiscal plans if the Exchequer's revenues were boosted by more rapid rises in parental employment and higher wage increases than were currently expected. The report discussed policy implications.
Source: Howard Reed and Jonathan Portes, Understanding the Parental Employment Scenarios Necessary to Meet the 2020 Child Poverty Targets: Research report, Social Mobility and Child Poverty Commission
A report examined how employers could help to address in-work poverty in the United Kingdom. It said that increasing pay levels was only part of the solution, and discussed how employee-friendly human resource management and development practices, such as structured recruitment, training, performance management, flexible working, and fringe benefits, might contribute. The report also considered more specifically issues related to employment in the adult care sector.
Source: John Philpott, Rewarding Work for Low-Paid Workers, Joseph Rowntree Foundation
An article presented a geographical perspective on the campaign for a 'living wage'. It said that, whereas introducing the living wage had major cost implications for the particular employers and clients affected – increasing wages by approximately 30 per cent above the national minimum wage – it also had the potential to reduce costs across the wider society. There was thus a scalar dimension to making the argument for a living wage that could help to inform the future direction of the campaign.
Source: Jane Wills and Brian Linneker, 'In-work poverty and the living wage in the United Kingdom: a geographical perspective', Transactions of the Institute of British Geographers, Volume 29 Issue 2
An article examined possible reasons for the re-emergence of the 'living wage' as a policy demand. It said that thinking of low pay primarily as 'poverty pay' – caused by employers' failure to pay a living wage – raised practical and conceptual issues that were problematic; and it examined how far recent attempts to resolve such issues in the United Kingdom and elsewhere had succeeded. Alternative ways were needed of analyzing and addressing the two key issues associated with the living wage – low pay, and in-work poverty.
Source: Fran Bennett, 'The "living wage", low pay and in work poverty: rethinking the relationships', Critical Social Policy, Volume 34 Issue 1
The government began consultation on its proposed child poverty strategy for 2014-17. The paper said that good progress had been made to date and that the government remained committed to the target of ending child poverty in the United Kingdom by 2020. It said that actions would be taken to address the root causes of poverty and set out aims to: support families into work and to increase their earnings; improve living standards and reduce living costs; and raise educational attainment. It said that employers, local agencies, and the devolved administrations would have a part to play in achieving the aims of the strategy. The government also published an evidence review alongside the strategy, which examined the causes of poverty and the barriers faced by families in improving their position. The consultation would close on 22 May 2014.
Source 1: Consultation on the Child Poverty Strategy 2014-17, Cm 8782, Department for Work and Pensions, TSO
Links: Consultation document | DWP press release | 4Children press release | Childrens Society press release | Citizens Advice press release | CSAN press release | Gingerbread press release | JRF press release | BBC report | Guardian report | Inside Housing report
Source 2: An Evidence Review of the Drivers of Child Poverty for Families in Poverty Now and for Poor Children Growing Up to Be Poor Adults, Cm 8781, Department for Work and Pensions, TSO
A paper examined a randomized controlled trial, run by the United Kingdom government, that offered incentives to disadvantaged people to remain and advance in work and to become self-sufficient. Reporting on data from the Employment and Retention Advancement Demonstration trial, it said that, after five years, the intervention had led to significant reductions in well-being, and people worried more about money, and were increasingly prone to debt.
Source: Richard Dorsett and Andrew Oswald, Human Well-Being and In-Work Benefits: A randomized controlled trial, Warwick Economic Research Paper 1038, University of Warwick
A think-tank report examined options for reforming the national minimum wage in the United Kingdom and looked at the role and functions of the Low Pay Commission. It said that the minimum wage had some success in removing people from extreme low pay, but had not had the anticipated 'ripple effect' in raising wages and had, in some sectors, become the standard rate of pay. The report discussed ideas such as explicitly targeting the reduction of the share of workers who were low paid, for the government to set out its aims for the level of the minimum wage over the medium-term, and for extending and strengthening the activities of the Low Pay Commission
Source: James Plunkett, Tony Wilson, and Conor D'Arcy, Minimum Wage Act II: Options for strengthening the UK minimum wage, Resolution Foundation
A report outlined the interim findings of the Living Wage Commission, an inquiry into the future of the living wage in the United Kingdom. The report said that stagnating wages and rising living costs had hit those with the lowest income hardest, with increasing numbers of low paid workers finding it hard to manage financially. It said that the living wage could help to improve the living standards of the lowest paid whilst providing economic benefits. The Commission would produce a further report later in 2014.
Source: Working for Poverty: The scale of the problem of low pay and working poverty in the UK, Living Wage Commission
A new book examined the links between poverty, labour market participation, and the distributive capacity of welfare states within the working age population in the European Union, before the financial crisis.
Source: Bea Cantillon and Frank Vandenbroucke, Reconciling Work and Poverty Reduction: How successful are European welfare states?, Oxford University Press
A report examined the responsibility that some universal credit claimants would have (under the 'claimant commitment') to commit to finding better-paid work or work more hours, if earning less than the equivalent of 35 hours per week at the national minimum wage. It considered the views of those likely to become affected and examined the difficulties that some might face in increasing their earnings in the existing labour market. The report made recommendations.
Source: Making Work Pay: Implementing universal credit, Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development