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News Archive 2014

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New analysis published
Poor lose, and rich gain from direct tax and benefit changes since May 2010 – without cutting the deficit

New analysis from Essex University and the LSE analyses the impact of benefit and direct tax changes since the election in detail. This shows that the poorest income groups lost the biggest share of their incomes on average, and those in the bottom half of incomes lost overall.
  • In contrast those in the top half of incomes gained from direct tax cuts, with the exception of most of the top 5 per cent – although within this 5 percent group those at the very top gained, because of the cut in the top rate of income tax.

  • In total, the changes have not contributed to cutting the deficit.  Rather, the savings from reducing benefits and tax credits have been spent on raising the tax-free income tax allowance.

  • The analysis challenges the idea that those with incomes in the top tenth have lost as great a share of their incomes as those with the lowest incomes

The full paper can be downloaded here (pdf)

The research, by Paola De Agostini, John Hills and Holly Sutherland suggests that who has gained or lost most as a result of the Coalition’s policy changes depends critically on when reforms are measured from.

  • Treasury analysis, suggesting that those at the top have lost proportionately most starts from January 2010 and therefore includes the effects of income tax changes at the top announced by Labour in 2009 and taking effect in April 2010, before the election.

  • But if the Coalition’s impacts are measured comparing the system in 2014-15 with what would have happened if the system inherited in May 2010, they have more clearly regressive effect. 

  • This resulted from the combination of: changes to benefits and tax credits making them less generous for the bottom and middle of the distribution; changes to Council Tax and benefits from which those in the bottom half lost but the top half gained; higher personal income tax allowances which meant the largest gains for those in the middle, but with some income tax increases for the top 5 per cent; and the ‘triple lock’ on state pensions which were most valuable as a proportion of their incomes for the bottom half.

  • Some groups were clear losers on average – including lone parent families, large families, children, and middle-aged people (at the age when many are parents), while others were gainers, including two-earner couples, and those in their 50s and early 60s.

Prof Sutherland, Director of EUROMOD at the Institute for Social and Economic Research (ISER) at the University of Essex commented: “It is striking how seemingly technical issues or minor differences in assumptions like which tax system is taken as the starting point for Coalition reforms, or whether to assume 100% take-up of benefits have very big implications for what we conclude about whether the rich or the poor were harder hit.”  

Prof Hills, Director of the Centre for Analysis of Social Exclusion at LSE, commented: “What is most remarkable about these results is that the overall effect of direct tax and benefit changes under the Coalition have not contributed to cutting the deficit.  The savings from benefit reforms have been offset by the cost of raising the tax-free income tax allowance.  But those with incomes in the bottom half have lost more on average from benefit and tax credit changes than they have gained from the higher tax allowance.”

Paola De Agostini is Senior Research Officer at the Institute for Social and Economic Research (ISER) at the University of Essex.

John Hills is Professor of Social Policy and Director of the Centre for Analysis of Social Exclusion (CASE) at the London School of Economics.    

Holly Sutherland is Research Professor and Director of EUROMOD at the Institute for Social and Economic Research (ISER) at the University of Essex. 

The paper was prepared as part of CASE’s Social Policy in a Cold Climate programme, which is funded by the Joseph Rowntree Foundation, Nuffield Foundation, and with London-specific analysis funded by the Trust for London.  The views expressed are those of the authors and not necessarily those of the funders.  The analysis uses the tax-benefit model, EUROMOD, based at the University of Essex.


News Posted: 16 November 2014      [Back to the Top]

Department of Social Policy public lecture
Good Times Bad Times: the welfare myth of them and us

Date: Wednesday 12 November 2014 
Time: 6.30-8pm 
Venue: Sheikh Zayed Theatre, New Academic Building
Speaker: Professor Sir John Hills
Respondents: Polly Toynbee and  Professor Holly Sutherland
Chair: Professor Julian Le Grand 

This ground-breaking book Good Times Bad Times: the welfare myth of them and us by John Hills, challenges the idea of a divide in the UK population between those who benefit from the welfare state and those who pay into it.


Listen here to John Hills' interview on BBC Radio 2's Jeremy Vine show, where he answers questions from members of the public

Here are are links to reviews/blogs of the book:

LSE Policy & Politics blog

New Statesman blog (Gavin Kelly): 11/11/14

LSE blog: with Podcast

Guardian review

Times Higher Education Book of the Week

Click here for the audio recording and presentation slides
from this event. A video recording is available here

The hashtag for this event for Twitter users:   #LSEwelfaremyth

 


News Posted: 12 November 2014      [Back to the Top]

New blog post
The cuts in local government funding have had a significant impact on London's most deprived communities

How has the significant cuts to local authority funding affected front-line services? There had undoubtedly been enormous strain on services and front-line staff, with councils have argued that the limits to efficiency have been reached. Amanda Fitzgerald presents findings from a new report for the Trust for London into the most deprived communities in London. Read the blog at LSE British Politics and Policy


News Posted: 23 October 2014      [Back to the Top]

New report launched
Hard times, new directions? The impact of local government spending cuts on three deprived neighbourhoods

CASE researchers, with funding from Trust for London, have examined, through an in-depth case study approach, three London councils’ responses to the cuts, as well as what those responses have meant for services and residents of one of the most deprived wards of each borough.  The research focused on services for families with under-fives, young people 16-24 and older people 65+.

Key findings include:

  • Front line services for under-fives and young people have been impacted in all wards (with the exception of under-fives services in Camden) but not to the degree we might have expected from the extent of local government spending cuts.
  •  Staff reductions were widely reported in these services and were the principal change in most cases.  Those reductions were being offset as far as possible through paid staff doing more and through use of volunteers.  For this reason more extensive impact to the front line had to this point been avoided.
  • Services for older people had been affected more than services for under-fives and young people in all three wards.  Losses of day centres, reductions in activities, or higher charges had occurred across the case studies.  Adult Social Care makes up the largest part of council spending and as councils are obliged to protect statutory provision discretionary community services are being substantially impacted.
  • In the wards where children’s centre activity provision had been reduced parents reported worsening behavioural problems.  Parents on low incomes were not able to offset those service reductions by paying for private services.
  • Older residents who had experienced changes in local provision reported greater boredom.  In some cases the changes have created  a barrier to access (e.g. inability to pay higher charges) and leaving those older residents more isolated.  Social ties were being severed with service losses.
  •  VCS organisations we spoke with are under increasing pressure, particularly smaller, locally specific ones.  We have to question the long-term potential of VCS provision supplying the antidote to council reductions at the local level given the extent of competition for funding reported.  We have noted here the reduction in all wards of funding to VCS providers of older people’s services and, importantly, the impact of that on older residents’ lives.
  •  This work reflects a snapshot at a particular point in time, just before local elections in 2014 and before a second round of budget cuts.  The situation is likely to get worse.  Several of the service managers we spoke with were unsure of the future of their job or the service they managed.

A summary is available to download here (pdf) and the full report available here

The report is part of the Social Policy in a Cold Climate research programme, jointly funded by Nuffield Foundation, Joseph Rowntree Foundation and Trust for London.


News Posted: 16 October 2014      [Back to the Top]

Report Launch:
Facing Debt: Economic Resilience in Newham

On 18th July 2014 the final report was launched from a year long research project conducted by the London School of Economics for the London Borough of Newham into the impact of debt and the experience of life on a low income.
 
The rising cost of living, stagnant wages and welfare reform have placed many households under increased financial strain. This report, commissioned by the London Borough of Newham and written independently by Professor Anne Power, offers a powerful insight into the lives of some of the hardest pressed people in our country. This research highlights the struggle of both working and non-working households and explores the relationship between financial planning and skills and attitudes to credit and debt. The report also provides a valuable insight into the real impact of welfare reforms and helps to inform Newham’s ongoing work to strengthen resilience.

A panel discussion was held with Polly Toynbee (Guardian), Vidhya Alakeson (Resolution Foundation), Professor Anne Power (LSE) and Sir Robin Wales (Mayor of Newham). The discussion considered the drivers and solutions to increasing levels of personal debt and what can be done locally, nationally and within the community to build economic resilience. The London Borough of Newham also outlined its plans to respond to the analysis in the report.
 

The full report is available here (pdf). An audio recording of the launch event is also available.

Watch an interview with a Newham resident who took part in the research.


News Posted: 18 July 2014      [Back to the Top]

Housing Plus
Think Tank 6: Supporting tenants into work

Housing Plus is about social landlords adopting a wider role in communities where they are based. The bedroom tax, benefit caps and other welfare reforms are having a dramatic impact on the lives of social housing tenants.

This workshop will explore why the problem of work now dominates, why public opinion has become hostile to supporting the unemployed, why social landlords need their tenants to work, and how they can achieve this.  By bringing together social landlords from all over the country who are trying out new ideas or are anxious to uncover more good ideas, we hope to uncover some solutions. Read the Think Tank summary and programme here and fill out the registration form here.


News Posted: 03 July 2014      [Back to the Top]

LSE and BBC Radio 4 Public Debate
Housing: where will we all live?

Date: Monday 9 June 2014 
Time: 6.30-8pm 
Venue: Old Theatre, Old Building
Speakers: Professor Paul Cheshire, Rachel Fisher and others to be announced
Chair: Mark Easton

The governor of the Bank of England recently warned that the overheated housing market represents the "biggest risk" to the country’s long-term recovery.

Mark Carney said rising property prices and the subsequent increase in large-value mortgages, could lead to a "debt overhang" capable of destabilising the economy. He spoke of "deep, deep structural problems" in the market, with demand for homes outstripping supply. In his native Canada, there are half as many people yet twice as many houses are built there every year as in the UK. On average over the past four years fewer market houses have been built than at any time since WW2.

BBC Home Affairs editor Mark Easton asks this expert panel, including LSE’s Paul Cheshire and Rachel Fisher of the National Housing Federation, why this country has failed to build enough affordable homes and looks at what can be done to solve our housing crisis.

The recording will be broadcast on BBC Radio 4 on Wednesday 11 June at 20.02 BST.

Suggested hashtag for this event for Twitter users: #wheretolive

This event is free and open to all with no ticket or pre-registration required. Entry is on a first come, first served basis. For any queries see LSE Events FAQ or contact us at events@lse.ac.uk 0207 955 6043. 

Media queries: please contact the Press Office if you would like to request a press seat or have a media query about this event, email LSE.Press.Events@lse.ac.uk. Please note that press seats are usually allocated at least 24 hours before each event.

From time to time there are changes to event details so we strongly recommend that if you plan to attend this event you check back on this listing on the day of the event


News Posted: 09 June 2014      [Back to the Top]

LSE Housing and Communities launch new report for HAILO
Work and Welfare Reform: Impacts in the South West 2014

Welfare reforms will prompt many social housing tenants to make fundamental changes around their choice of jobs, housing, and how they manage their money day to day. LSE Housing and Communities has been asked by nine housing associations in the South West of England to understand these changes from a tenant’s point of view.

This is the baseline report of a longitudinal survey commissioned by the South West Housing Association Influence and Leadership Organisation (HAILO). The study aims to monitor the emerging consequences of benefit changes on working age social housing residents as these reforms progress by following 200 social housing tenants across the South West over an extended period of time.

Read the full report here.
News Posted: 25 March 2014      [Back to the Top]

Book Launch
All that is Solid: The Great Housing Disaster by Danny Dorling

Tuesday 18th March 2014, 6.30-8.00pm
 
A ground-breaking examination of the UK’s dangerous relationship with the housing market, and how easily it could, will, come crashing down

From “generation rent” to rising homelessness, the government’s Help to Buy scheme to the proposed “mansion tax”, and negative equity to the recent sell-off of a London council house for £3million, housing is the one issue that affects us all.
 
Housing was at the heart of the financial collapse, and in this ground-breaking new book, Danny Dorling argues that housing is the defining issue of our times.
 
Tracing how we got to our current crisis and how housing has come to reflect class and wealth in Britain, All That Is Solid radically shows that the solution to our problems - rising homelessness, a generation priced out of home ownership - is not, as is widely assumed, building more homes. Inequality, he argues, is what we really need to overcome.
 
Danny Dorling, Halford Mackinder Professor in Geography at the University of Oxford, will launch his new book All that is Solid: The Great Housing Disaster in a joint LSE Housing and Communities and CASE event at LSE on Tuesday 18th March (6.30-8.00pm) in TW1.G.01, Ground Floor, Tower One, Clements Passage, London WC2A 2AZ. This event is free but booking is essential. To request a seat for this event, please email lsehousingandcommunities@lse.ac.uk or telephone 020 7955 6330.

“Dorling is that rare university professor: expert, politically engaged and able to explain simply why his subject matters. He describes modern Britain as the most unequal society since Dickens's times, and picks apart the orthodoxies that allow such unfairness.”                                                                     
Martin Wainwright, the Guardian

Danny Dorling: All that is Solid: The Great Housing Disaster
London: Allen Lane
Hardback £20.00 ISBN 9781846147159
E-book also available
Published on 27th February 2014
To order this book please see:
www.penguin.co.uk

News Posted: 18 March 2014      [Back to the Top]

LSE and Trafford Hall Housing Plus Think Tank:
Welfare Reform and Tenants' Experiences

Monday 3rd – Tuesday 4th March 2014

Trafford Hall, near Chester

Housing Plus is about social landlords adopting a wider role in communities where they are based. The bedroom tax, benefit caps and other welfare reforms are having a dramatic impact on the lives of social housing tenants, particularly those under 60. Landlords face big challenges in helping their tenants and collecting rents which pay for housing services.

This is the second special Think Tank for social housing tenants and it is important for tenant voices to be heard, and their experiences are shared. We want to gather real evidence from the ground and share it widely. We are interested in discovering who are the most vulnerable and worst affected tenants, whether there is more that can be done, whether landlords are developing better access routes and more support for tenants as a result of the pressures of welfare reform, and also whether welfare reform is being properly connected to work and job opportunities.

Download (pdf)

The full event programme


News Posted: 07 February 2014      [Back to the Top]


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