The work of the Trust spans all four of the UK’s nations, this month’s publications particularly reflect our reach and the variety of work we support. From an event with polling-guru John Curtice in Scotland to look at wealth in that nation (you can read more here), to a report launch in Northern Ireland on the financial well-being of single parents, Financial Fairness covers a wide range of topics. We’ve also included the latest from Child Poverty Action Group and Changing Realities, who warn that the autumn cost-of-living payment won’t be enough to prevent more hardship for families with children this winter.
Scotland, Wales and the North of England experience biggest falls in wealth since the pandemic
Research published by Resolution Foundation (in partnership with the Trust) reported yesterday that higher interest rates have caused a sharp drop in household wealth.
Total household wealth in Britain has dipped dramatically since the pandemic, falling from 840 per cent of GDP in 2021 to around 630 per cent of GDP in early 2023 – but the impact of this fall has not been distributed evenly across the country, with Scotland, Wales and the North of England seeing the biggest wealth drops so far.
Podcast: Pre-election series
The next election is on the horizon. OK, it could be 15 months away, the Institute for Government has said 28th January 2025 is the latest it could be held. However, because no one wants an election in the depths of winter, it looks likely to be set for 2024. With that in mind, the Trust’s new podcast series will focus on the upcoming General Election. Each episode will explore what the political parties have announced so far and what the next government could do to make things financially fairer on various issues which affect people on low-to-middle incomes.
October’s episode features Arun Advani from the University of Warwick and Ian Mulheirn from the Resolution Foundation. They discuss all things wealth, from non-doms to income tax, as they consider what the parties might pledge.
Single parents in Northern Ireland
Single parents and their children in Northern Ireland are likely to experience significant financial struggles. Parenting Northern Ireland and the Centre for Effective Services called on the NI Executive and other policymakers to respond to financial hardship experienced by single and separated parents in Northern Ireland.
Their research drew on a series of interviews, focus groups and a survey of 247 single parents living in Northern Ireland. It found that:
- 7 out of 10 single or separated parents in the survey had borrowed money for essentials
- Single parents with large families and parents with younger children were most likely to say they struggled financially
- Single and separated parents wanted to work but faced obstacles, such as inflexible childcare, limited employment options, and a lack of understanding by employers about single parents’ needs
Low-income families ‘terrified for winter’ as inflation stays high
New analysis shows a big gap for struggling families between benefit levels and rising prices. Benefits for a couple with two children have increased by only £2000 since before Covid, while energy and food have together risen by twice as much in that time. The cost-of-living payments are flat-rate payments and so don’t adjust to household size – a single childless person receives the same as a family of four.
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