Analysis and action on living standards
The Resolution Foundation is an independent think-tank focused on improving the living standards of those on low-to-middle incomes. We work across a wide range of economic and social policy, combining our core purpose with a commitment to analytical rigour. These twin pillars of rigour and purpose underpin everything we do and make us the leading UK authority on securing widely-shared economic growth.
The Foundation’s established work programme includes incomes and inequality; jobs, skills and pay; housing, wealth and debt; tax and welfare; public finances and the economy. More recently, it has added work streams on trade, net zero and productivity, as well as covering these issues through both an intergenerational and cities lens.
We inform public debate, alongside key decision makers in government, the private sector, and civil society. Alongside regular publications from our team on a range of policy issues, we hold a wide ranging programme of events, hosting diverse speakers from academia, the voluntary sector and business, and regularly engage with politicians from across the political spectrum. To learn more about our work and research areas, please visit this section of our website.
The Foundation is led by Torsten Bell (Chief Executive), Mike Brewer (Deputy Chief Executive), Gavin Kelly (Chair) and David Willetts (President of the Advisory Council and Intergenerational Centre).The Foundation is overseen by a board of trustees, led by its Founder Clive Cowdery, and primarily funded by the Resolution Trust. It occasionally partners with other organisations. When this is the case the logo of the partner organisation is clearly displayed on any project outputs.
The Foundation conducts authoritative analytical research on living standards in the UK, working across a wide range of issues with a specific focus on the experiences of low to middle income households. Typically these are considered to be working households with incomes below the median in the UK.
There are eight million low-to-middle income families in the UK, including twelve million adults and nearly seven million children. As each includes at least one working adult, they are not the very poorest in society, but they are often struggling to get by. While national debate has often focused on these families, this attention has not been matched by an adequate policy response. Every year we publish an annual Living Standards Outlook, and a Living Standards Audit to examine trends and any particular issues they face.
The Foundation was founded in 2005 with the purpose of producing high quality research and analysis that raised the profile of the challenges facing those on low to middle incomes, and developing policy solutions to these problems.
From 2005 – 2010 the Foundation built a consensus on the need to fill the gap in independent financial advice available to low and middle income families, and secured a government commitment to increasing the provision of generic financial advice.
From 2010 – 2015 the Foundation’s work focused on the underlying living standards of the low to middle income group, with a strong focus on the jobs market. During this time it hosted the high-profile Commission on Living Standards and the Bain review into the future of the minimum wage.
Between 2016 and 2018 the Foundation hosted the Intergenerational Commission, which brought together leaders from business, academia and policy-making to devise a means of repairing the social contract between generations.
Since 2018, we have calculated the real Living Wage – a voluntary hourly pay rate that is based on what families need to get by.
Since 2021 the Resolution Foundation has collaborated with the Centre for Economic Performance at the London School of Economics on The Economy 2030 Inquiry. The Inquiry has brought together leaders from business, academia and policy making, in both the UK and US, to both diagnose the causes of the UK’s poor economic performance in recent decades, and to set out a new economic strategy for the 2020s. The project will deliver a policy-rich strategy to aims to boost growth and living standards throughout the UK, and confront the major economic issues Britain faces, including demographic and technological change, and the country’s net zero transition.
The Resolution Foundation’s primary charitable objective is to educate the public about issues that are important to the living standards of those on low to middle incomes, and we do this through undertaking and publicising high-quality, rigorous research and policy analysis.
We maintain sector leading research standards through a variety of methods including detailed internal quality assurance processes, peer review and external engagement on new or controversial areas of our research agenda. The conclusions of our publications are derived from the research we have undertaken, with significant counter arguments considered. Additionally, we maintain a clear focus on well-defined topics that are material to the living standards of those on low to middle incomes in the UK. For more details about the range of our research and policy analysis, please see our Publications page.
We expect all our researchers to observe the highest standards of integrity in the conduct of their research. Research carried out with a high level of integrity is more accurate and trusted. It upholds values of honesty, rigour, transparency and open communication, as well as care and respect for those involved in research, and accountability for a positive research environment. These values, and the behaviours they instil, are central to a healthy research culture, and form the basis of the Foundation’s policy and practice in this area.
In order to confirm the standard all Foundation researchers are expected to uphold, and the procedures in place to maintain the highest standards of integrity, we publish an annual statement on Research Integrity.
– Download our 2022/23 Annual Statement on Research Integrity as a PDF
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