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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]

Disabled people are worth the National Minimum Wage:
Lord Freud's widely-reported recent remark that some disabled people are not ‘worth' the National Minimum Wage (NMW) is not supported by CASE research

By Abigail McKnight and Tania Burchardt

Just before the minimum wage was introduced back in April 1999, disabled people were disproportionately employed in jobs paying less that the NMW rate: 8.5% of disabled men compared to 5.3% of non-disabled men, and 20% of disabled women compared to 13.2% of non-disabled women. This meant that they stood to gain from significant wage increases – but they were also most at risk of lay-offs, if employers responded to the introduction of the minimum wage by reducing the number of their employees.  

At the time, there were a number of calls for disabled people to be made exempt from the NMW for this reason. But our research found that both disabled and non-disabled men and women actually increased their chances of remaining in work over the period that the NMW was introduced.  This was no doubt due to the buoyant labour market at that time.  We also found no evidence among disabled men or among disabled women that changes in their chances of remaining in work were significantly lower than for non-disabled men or non-disabled women respectively.

We concluded that exempting disabled employees from the NMW would be likely to increase discrimination against disabled people by giving a clear signal to employers and others that disabled workers could be treated less favourably. This is in direct opposition to the Equality Act. The vast majority of disabled employees earning less than the NMW before it was introduced did not lose their jobs following its introduction. The introduction of the NMW therefore led to an increase in the wage of these low-paid disabled employees, and, although it was not covered in our original research, one would expect that subsequent increases in the minimum wage have similarly benefitted disabled people in the labour market. 

We suggest that a much better approach would be to continue to keep disabled employees under the scope of the NMW legislation, improve the enforcement of the Equality Act and to support disabled employees with very low intrinsic levels of productivity through supported employment services. Furthermore policy would be better targeted at addressing the low levels of skill and education among parts of the disabled population, which is most often the root cause of low wages and high rates of non-employment.

In the light of the recent comments made by Lord Freud that some disabled people are not worth the National Minimum Wage we would like to suggest that our research findings are just as relevant today as they were when first produced in 2003. Disabled people have been major net gainers from the NMW and there is no evidence to support the case that they should be exempt.

Research paper: Disability and the National Minimum Wage: A Special CASE?

News Posted: 20 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 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 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]

Book Launch, 27 March 2014
Changing Inequalities and Societal Impacts in Rich Countries: Thirty Countries' Experiences

An audio recording of the launch event can be found here

cover Increasing inequalities across some of the richest countries in the world are not inevitable according to findings from an international research project, which included a team of researchers from LSE. Published in two volumes, launched at LSE on 27 March 2014, the research shows that public policy plays a key role in shaping national inequalities even within a highly globalized set of rich countries. Information on inequality trends was gathered across 30 countries over the last 30 years.

Evidence of tax reforms across many of the countries reveals a trend towards lowering marginal tax rates for high earners, reductions in taxes on capital and capital income and removal or reductions in inheritance tax. This has been coupled with a reduction in the effectiveness of welfare states in ameliorating background inequality pressures.  This is despite attitudinal data which reveals that people in these countries expressed a dislike for inequality in their societies and believed that governments should do more to redistribute income or increase spending on programmes to enhance opportunity.   

The research also found that increases in inequalities have been accompanied by falling political participation with fewer people voting in political elections or actively engaging in politics, with much greater falls occurring among the least advantaged members of societies than the more privileged. 

Dr Abigail McKnight, Senior Research Fellow at the Centre for the Analysis of Social Exclusion| (CASE) at LSE, said: “Concern has been growing about increases in concentration of income and wealth among a small group of people and the relationship between this group and an emerging privileged political elite. This new evidence on inequality trends, political participation and evolving public policy is a concern for all democracies. The danger is that disenfranchised groups are left open to being drawn in by emerging minority political parties expressing narrow populist views
“In the UK we found that, over the period, voter turnout in UK general elections fell. The gap between voters in the Professional social class and those in the Unskilled social class widened from 10 percentage points in 1992 to 25 percentage points in 2005 with a similar gap found in the 2010 general election.”

Within the group of countries studied there were examples of stable income inequality, including Belgium and Southern European countries. Even though the general trend was upwards, the timing of increases was variable and in some countries there were even periods where inequality fell.
The central and eastern European countries –  transforming from Soviet-led economies to free market economies –  tended to experience large increases in inequality but some navigated the path better than others. This partly reflects the diverse nature of this group of countries and the role of public policy. These countries appear to have polarised into a relatively high inequality grouping (including Latvia, Bulgaria and Lithuania) and a relatively low inequality grouping (including Slovenia, Slovakia and the Czech Republic).

The research also examined evidence on the impact of inequality on a wide variety of social, cultural and political factors. Some previous research has suggested that inequality is associated with a range of ‘social ills’. Here the evidence was more mixed and while some areas seem to show a clear relationship with inequality –  for example, political engagement, attitudes, some types of crime and imprisonment – this was not evident in others, for example, marriage and divorce, economic stress, life expectancy, overall crime rates. Individuals’ outcomes were often found to be more strongly influenced by wider social change, such as family configuration, and technological advances, such as health and crime, and policy played an important role in weakening the link between inequality, opportunity and outcomes. What did emerge was that in a number of areas income inequality cast a shadow by increasing social gradients (the gaps between the least and most advantaged) in, for example, political engagement, health and social mobility.

The project ‘Growing Inequalities’ Impacts’| (GINI) was funded through the EU FP7 research programme (February 2010 – July 2013)  . The London School of Economics was one of six core country partners (Belgium, Hungary, Ireland, Italy, Netherlands, UK) led by Wiemer Salverda at the University of Amsterdam. This study involved over 200 researchers and analysed data for 30 countries (all 27 EU countries except Malta and Cyprus plus Australia, Canada, Japan, Korea and the US) covering a period of over 30 years. The project produced country reports covering all 30 countries, around 100 discussion papers, policy papers, reviews and reports, all of which contributed to the two OUP volumes.

Changing Inequalities in Rich Countries: Analytical and Comparative Perspectives| Editors: Wiemer Salverda, Brian Nolan, Daniele Checchi, Ive Marx, Abigail McKnight, István György Tóth and Herman van de Werfhorst, Oxford University Press

Changing Inequalities and Societal Impacts in Rich Countries: Thirty Countries' Experiences|
Editors: Brian Nolan, Wiemer Salverda, Daniele Checchi, Ive Marx, Abigail McKnight, István György Tóth and Herman van de Werfhorst, Oxford University Press 

To mark the launch, Oxford University Press have agreed to offer a 30% discount on book sales at the event or ordered online (details here).



News Posted: 19 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 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:

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

CASE Book Launch
An Equal Start? Providing Quality Early Education and Care for Disadvantaged Children

Wednesday 19th February 2014 4.30pm - 6.00pm followed by an informal reception

London School of Economics, Room 1.04. 32 Lincoln's Inn Fields, WC2A 3PH (Map and directions)

Presentations from the editors Ludovica Gambaro and Kitty Stewart. Jane Waldfogel will join via video link.


  • Vidhya Alakeson, Resolution Foundation
  • Leon Feinstein, Early Intervention Foundation.


  • Howard Glennerster, Emeritus Professor, LSE

This presentation marks the launch of the book 'An Equal Start? Providing Quality Early Education and Care for Disadvantaged Children', published by Policy Press, edited by Ludovica Gambaro, Kitty Stewart and Jane Waldfogel. The book examines how the UK and seven other OECD countries manage the provision of early education and care, and focuses in particular on the way that funding and regulation mechanisms operate to ensure that disadvantaged children access high quality provision. The study looks at countries where the private and voluntary sectors are involved in delivery of early education and care and asks whether experience elsewhere offers potential lessons for the UK. The countries included are: Australia, France, Germany, New Zealand, the Netherlands, Norway, and the US.

This work was part of a larger project generously funded by the Nuffield Foundation and carried out in conjunction with Daycare Trust (now Family and Childcare Trust)

To book a place please click here
News Posted: 19 February 2014      [Back to the Top]

GINI project
Publication of research findings

Changing Inequalities and Societal Impacts in Rich Countries

Edited by Wiemer Salverda, Brian Nolan, Daniele Checchi, Ive Marx, Abigail McKnight, István György Tóth, and Herman G. van de Werfhorst

The GINI project reached its conclusion following three and a half years of collaborative research into changing inequalities in 30 countries. The project looks at the long-term impacts of inequalities on social, political, cultural and economic aspects of life Two volumes based on the findings have just been published by Oxford University Press. Details of the launch event to follow soon. Further information can be found on the The GINI website

Volume one: Changing Inequalities in Rich Countries: Analytical and Comparative Perspectives

This volume investigates inequality trends in income, wealth, education, and the labour market, providing detailed information on inequality experiences across 30 countries examining trends over 30 years.  The research combines statistically sophisticated comparative analysis with evidence from individual countries' experiences to examine the relationship between changes in inequality and societal, cultural and political outcomes. This is followed by an assessment of the policy response across countries.


Volume two: Changing Inequalities and Societal Impacts in Rich Countries: Thirty Countries' Experiences

The second volume applies a consistent analytical framework across 30 different countries examining trends over 30 years, providing detailed background and information about inequality experiences and impacts in individual countries.  These case-studies bring out the variety of country experiences and the importance of framing inequality trends in the institutional and policy context of each country.

News Posted: 12 February 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]

Social Policy in a Cold Climate Event -
Education Policy, Equity and Social Mobility - last few places available to book

Date: Thursday 23rd January 2014, 2.00pm to 5.00pm

Venue: London School of Economics, Old Building room OLD3.21

Suggested Twitter hashtag #EdSocMob

The programme is available here

All major political parties are now committed to reducing educational inequalities. What can they really hope to achieve, and how? To what extent will closing educational attainment gaps in schools contribute to greater social mobility in the future?

This event will present findings from three important research studies by leading education economists and sociologists, followed by comments from policy-makers and practitioners and a debate from the floor. The event is free and open to all, early booking is recommended.


  • Geoff Whitty (Institute of Education) and Jake Anders
    (Institute of Education)
    (How) did New Labour narrow the achievement and participation gap?

  • Claire Crawford (Institute for Fiscal Studies) Socio-economic gaps in HE participation and outcomes

  • Jo Blanden (University of Surrey) and Lindsey Macmillan (Institute of Education)
    Education and Intergenerational Mobility: Help or Hindrance?


  • Tessa Stone, The Brightside Trust
  • Sir Alan Steer, Retired secondary head and government adviser 2004-10
  • Graeme Cooke, IPPR

This event is now fully booked.

Presentations and papers from this event are available here

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