First funding awards

01 June 2019

Standard Life Foundation is delighted to announce that five organisations have been selected for support in the organisation’s first round of funding. The organisations will share a total of just under £600,000 for work on issues which tackle financial problems and improve living standards.

As part of this funding the Foundation will be embarking on an exciting new partnership with the Resolution Foundation.Together the organisations will undertake a major investigation into the role of wealth in 21st century Britain.

Wealth has grown significantly in recent decades, increasing from three to nearly seven times Britain’s GDP (or £13 trillion) since the 1980s. This shift is driving major changes for Britain – from fast-growing inheritances, to generational gaps, and a decline in the role of income in determining lifetime living standards. Despite the growing importance of wealth, there has not been a commensurate increase in its role in policy and research debates.

This three-year project will increase understanding of, and engagement with, the role of wealth in policy-making. It will involve research into wealth accumulation and asset taxation to improve both our understanding of wealth in the UK and improve policies that relate to it. The total cost of the project is over £300,000, with Standard Life Foundation contributing £190,000.

Four other organisations have been awarded grants including:

Faith in Community Scotland – £75,000

The Poverty Truth Community, hosted by Faith in Community Scotland, will work to bring together people living with poverty and decision-makers in Scottish society. Working as equal partners, the groups will learn from one another to bring about systemic change.

The three-year project aims to ensure people living with poverty are connected with people in positions of influence to help shape decisions made about poverty-related issues. There will be a particular focus on three groups: young people; those experiencing in-work poverty; and those affected by Universal Credit.

IPPR Scotland – £150,000

IPPR Scotland will undertake a two-year project on social security in Scotland. The team will develop evidence, ideas and action to shape a social security system which better meets the needs of those living on low-to-middle incomes in Scotland.

IPPR Scotland will use quantitative analysis, focus groups and ideas labs to develop recommendations on how to deliver strategic change and long-term impact. Given the recent devolution of social security powers to Scotland, this project could not be more timely.

Loughborough University’s Centre for Research in Social Policy – £104,000

Most single adults in their twenties now live with their parents. This is influenced by high housing costs and other factors including changes to Housing Benefit and delays in formalising relationships. This has important implications for family well-being, but research and policy development addressing family living standards have not kept pace with this important change to family structure.

The Centre for Research in Social Policy will investigate how this trend affects the finances and financial well-being of low-to-middle income families. The fifteen-month project will work to identify and develop policy and practice approaches that could better support young adults and parents, and improve their choices.

Newcastle University’s Centre for Rural Economy – £70,000  

Newcastle University researchers will be developing an evidence base for action to address financial hardship in rural Britain. This 18-month study will address a gap in knowledge about experiences and impacts of low income and financial vulnerability in rural Britain.

The team, led by Professor of Planning, Mark Shucksmith, will investigate why and how people in rural areas experience and negotiate financial hardship. It will also look into how external processes and individual circumstances contribute to this and make recommendations for how these could be addressed. The work is in partnership with Scotland’s Rural College and Impact Hub Inverness.

Mubin Haq, Chief Executive of Standard Life Foundation, said:

“We are delighted to embark on these new partnerships. Covering a diverse range of topics, the breadth of issues we are funding demonstrates that there are many ways to address financial problems and improve living standards. Together these projects have the potential to contribute to real strategic change for people on low-to-middle incomes.”

The Foundation expects to make a further £1.5m in grants in 2019.