Housing Outlook Q3 2022

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Attention has understandably been focused on energy bills in recent months, but other price pressures have also been building of late. With large increases in private rents reported over the last year, this Housing Outlook reflects on the short- and long-term challenges facing the 4.4 million private renting households in England today. Private rents for … Continued

A blank cheque

An analysis of the new cap on energy prices

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Liz Truss’s first major act as Prime Minister was to set out a huge energy support package to reduce the scale of the living standards’ catastrophe this winter, with the Energy Price Guarantee (EPG) as its highlight. The EPG will mean that annual energy prices for the typical household are capped at £2,500 for two … Continued

In at the deep end

The living standards crisis facing the new Prime Minister

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This paper sets out projections for household living standards through to 2026-27. With the UK facing the largest two-year real income fall in at least a century, these forecasts make it clear that a big policy response will be needed from the new government.

A chilling crisis

Policy options to deal with soaring energy prices

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This briefing note, released just ahead of the announcement of the winter 2022 energy price cap level, looks at the implications of an unprecedented jump in energy costs on low-to-middle income households, stresses the need for urgent and novel policy thinking to lessen this blow, and outlines how this could take shape.

Cutting back to keep warm

Why low-income households will have to cut back on spending by three times as much as high-income households this winter

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This winter, low-income households will have to reduce their spending by three times as much as high-income households in order to afford their energy bills – a situation that is particularly concerning now that we know energy bills in January-March 2023 are set to be an annualised £4,266, rather than the £2,800 expected earlier this … Continued

In the dread of winter

Prospects for inflation in the coming months ahead of the Bank of England’s Monetary Policy Report

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In the face of the highest inflation rate for 40 years, many are predicting that the Bank of England will announce the largest interest rate rise in 27 years this week. This spotlight focuses on the challenges and uncertainties facing both the Bank of England and UK families from rising inflation this winter. Contrary to … Continued

Back on target

Analysis of the Government’s additional cost of living support

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The Chancellor yesterday announced a big and well-targeted package of energy bill support. Of the £15 billion of new measures, almost double that announced earlier in the year, twice as much will go to households in the bottom half of the income distribution as the top half. This fills the gaping hole left by the … Continued

Stressed out

April brings an acute squeeze on UK living standards as higher energy bills lead to widespread fuel stress

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April 2022 will see the UK’s cost of living crisis intensify as energy prices jump by more than half overnight, pushing 5 million English households into fuel stress, even accounting for support measures recently announced by the Chancellor. This is not the end, though. Against a backdrop of the highest inflation rate in 40 years … Continued

Taper cut

Analysis of the Autumn Budget changes to Universal Credit

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This briefing note looks at the changes to Universal Credit (UC) – the main benefit for low-income families – made by the Chancellor in the Autumn 2021 Budget. The reduction in the taper rate from 63 to 55 percent, and increase in the work allowance by £500 a year, represent a significant, permanent increase in … Continued

Are you better off today?

Real income growth under different governments since 1955

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In the 1980 presidential contest between the incumbent Jimmy Carter and Ronald Reagan, the latter asked voters “Are you better off today than you were four years ago?”. Although far from the only question that voters do or should ask, it is a reasonable question. In the UK, since 1955, real household disposable income per … Continued

The big squeeze

Assessing the changes to family incomes over the next six months

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This winter will see a major income squeeze – and it will be focused on low-to-middle income households. High inflation, especially higher energy bills, will strain many families’ finances. But these pressures will be compounded for over 4 million families when £20 a week is cut from Universal Credit in October 2021. Looking forward, April … Continued

Ventures
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Living standards
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Technological change
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Financial inclusion

Shock absorbers

Innovating to boost financial resilience in Europe

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This paper reviews the potential for innovation to address financial resilience problems in France, Germany and the UK, emerging from the Covid-19 crisis, and sets out a framework of supply and demand to look at innovative approaches to financial resilience. It applies this framework to France, Germany and the UK, and makes suggestions as to how innovation could best be supported in future.

Pandemic Pressures

Why families on a low income are spending more during Covid-19

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Household spending has fallen during the Covid-19 pandemic, but not for many of those on the lowest incomes. This note brings together data from representative surveys with vivid accounts from parents and carers participating in the ‘Covid Realities’ research programme to explore the reasons behind, and consequences of, the cost pressures that many have faced since the pandemic began.

Improving our understanding of UK poverty will require better data

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Policy makers across the political spectrum want to improve the living standards of the UK’s poorer households. The Leader of the House of Commons recently stated that “We are committed to our manifesto pledge to reduce child poverty”, while the last Labour manifesto pledged to “eradicate in-work poverty”. So statistics about poverty matter. We need … Continued

Caught in a (Covid) trap

Incomes, savings and spending through the coronavirus crisis

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In this briefing note we examine how the family finances of working-age adults have been affected since Covid-19 gripped the nation this spring. Drawing on new data from a representative survey of 6,000-plus working-age adults fielded in mid-September, we take a close look at how incomes, spending and saving changed during both the lockdown (April … Continued

The time of your life

Time use in London and the UK over the past 40 years

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Few things in life are equal, but each day every one of us has 24 hours of time to use. How  time is best spent has been the subject of an active public debate in recent years, and this question has been thrown still further into the limelight by the disruptions of the coronavirus pandemic. … Continued

Time with the kids

How parents’ time use has changed during the pandemic

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Many aspects of people’s time use have been turned upside down by the coronavirus lockdown. Some restrictions are now being unwound, but others, like limits on the availability of professional childcare, will continue, with particular consequences for how parents of different genders use their time. Indeed, data collected during the lockdown suggests that while job … Continued

Lockdown living

Housing quality across the generations

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For three months, the majority of the population has ‘stayed home to save lives’, bringing the quality of our housing stock and neighbourhoods into sharp relief. In this briefing note, we explore how long-term housing trends have resulted in significant gaps between generations when it comes to living conditions. As we face the prospect of further local or national lockdowns going into the winter months, we argue the inequalities we uncover demand attention from policy makers more than ever before.

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