September 2021 Standpoints

13 September 2021

It’s getting hot in here

Well, actually it’s not, energy prices are rising so it’s jumpers all round and the heating remaining firmly switched off. Seriously though, rising energy prices look set to be the story of the winter as smaller energy companies close and increasing prices hit us all. Recently, the IFS carried out some analysis for the Foundation which showed those on lower incomes managed to save very little during the pandemic. Most income going straight out again, paying for essentials like bills and food. The latest increase in energy prices, together with the cut to Universal Credit, is only going to make for a difficult winter.

On the subject of Universal Credit, our CEO Mubin Haq, had a letter in The FT earlier this month. He outlined some of the compelling evidence showing the £20 cut would be a mistake. It’s still not too late for Government to heed the warnings coming from all sides on this.

With the end of the Government’s furlough scheme also this month, set to affect more than 1 million workers in the UK, household incomes and financial stability for many will be squeezed even more. As such, recent research by the Fabian Society funded by the Foundation calls for a transformation of unemployment benefits.

Project in focus: RSA

How should we reward key workers?

A new report from the RSA calls for care and supermarket workers to be paid the Real Living Wage to avoid recruitment shortage.

The report is the culmination of a project funded under our Covid-19 scheme. The largest study of key workers during the pandemic, it found 45% of supermarket workers and 31% of care workers are paid less than the benchmark for decent living standards.

The RSA calls for reforms to sick pay, better childcare and decent mental health support. Jake Jooshandeh, who worked on the report, makes the case: Improving the economic security of key workers is good for us all.

The team also produced a report focussing on London, with recommendations specific to those in the Capital, which was also funded by Trust for London.

Stat of the month - £31,000

The average house price rose by £31,000 between June 2020 and June 2021, equivalent to an average annual UK salary.

Source: IPPR

What we like this month

Can money buy you happiness? For a long time, those in lower paid work had a higher ‘job satisfaction premium’ than those in higher paid work. However, in recent years the tide has turned, those in lower paid roles are now reporting higher levels of stress and feeling ‘used up’ at the end of the day. The Resolution Foundation looked at how the world of work has changed over the last 30 years, the report is available here.


We’re looking for a new Head of Policy and Research to join our team. Apply by 16th October 2021 and find out more here.

Podcast of the month

How does social progress in Britain since 1950 compare with that in “peer” countries? An interesting lesson from the University of Oxford.


Challenge Poverty Week

Our partner, Faith in Community Scotland, is holding Little Stones, Large Cairns – Exploring the UN International Day for the Eradication of Poverty on Wednesday 6 October 4-5pm.

You can register here to attend the event online.