Question & Answers
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Q: "What is the Resolution Foundation?"
Set up by Clive Cowdery in 2005, the Resolution Foundation is an independent, not-for-profit research and policy organisation dedicated to improving the well-being of low-to-middle earners (LMEs) in today’s mixed economy.
Q: "What are the Foundation’s aims?"
We aim to improve the lives of low-to-middle earners — those who are not benefit dependent but have below median incomes. Our objective is to bring about substantive change in areas where this income group is currently disadvantaged, by producing new research and economic analysis and actively engaging in the policy making process.
Q: "Who are low-to-middle earners?"
‘Low-to-middle earners’ (LMEs) is the term the Foundation uses for the group of people who are ‘too rich’ to qualify for state support yet often ‘too poor’ to access the benefits of private markets. At its simplest, we consider the group to be made up of members of the working-age population in income deciles 2-5 who receive less than one-fifth of their gross households income from means-tested benefit. We ‘equivalise’ household income prior to establishing the decile distribution, in order to account for the different living standards associated with varying household compositions. As such, couples with no children fall into deciles 2-5 if their gross household income is between £12,000-£30,000 a year, while couples with two children qualify if their income is in the range £17,000-£42,500 and those living alone need an income between £8,000 and £20,000. Around six million households and 11.1 million working age adults fall into this category in the UK.
The Foundation published Squeezed Britian: low-to-middle earners audit in March, highlighting the economic insecurity of many low earning households. While low earners may not be the most vulnerable in society, they make up a sizeable group. The challenges they face as employees, consumers and as citizens are unique and frequently overlooked by public policy.
Q: "What is the Foundation’s approach?"
We focus on a small number of projects, combining economic and social policy analysis to develop practical policy proposals. We take a non-partisan approach and we share our analysis with a range of stakeholders to influence decision making and encourage take up by policy makers. We also continue to monitor and influence those issues we have previously worked on to see projects through to completion and ensure that reforms are successfully implemented.
For example, our first research project explored low-to-middle earners’ (LMEs) access to financial services and identified that there was an ‘advice gap’ for LMEs. This work culminated in the announcement by the Treasury of the Thoresen Review which recommended a pathfinder for a new Money Guidance service. We were engaged with the development of the Money Guidance pathfinders, and are delighted that Money Made Clear was rolled out nationally in March 2010.
To support this work and to continue to engage in the wider issues of financial inclusion and financial capability we launched the Financial Health Forum in 2008. The Forum is an independent body of experts which aims to progress thinking and practice on issues relating to the population’s financial health.