While the Government’s highly anticipated Autumn Budget addresses some positive changes such as a rise in the National Living Wage and a reduction in the Universal Credit taper rate, it doesn’t go far enough to have a real impact. As the Institute for Fiscal Studies notes, median earners will see take-home pay fall by around 1% in real terms, but low earners should see a small rise. Meanwhile it remains a tough time for those out of work with the £20 a week cut to Universal Credit (UC) seriously eroding the safety net, whilst household costs increase. The majority will not benefit from the reduction in the taper rate, with 3.2m set to be worse off as a result of the cut to UC.
Analysis by our partner, the Resolution Foundation, sets out some of the Budget’s limitations. Read it here.
The Chancellor is clearly focusing on a post-Covid era with this Budget, but as much research the Foundation is funding suggests, the lingering effects will be felt for some time yet.
Project in focus: Women's Budget Group
How has the pandemic affected women’s financial well-being?
Women's Budget Group (WBG), working jointly with the Fawcett Society, Engender, Women's Equality Network Wales and the Northern Ireland Women's Budget Group, has been monitoring the gendered impact of the coronavirus pandemic.
Over the course of the last 18 months, WBG has carried out a number of polls looking at how women’s personal finances have been affected. Findings have included:
- Mothers on the lowest incomes were eight times more likely to report being at risk of losing their jobs when the schools were closed back in January.
- Just 38% of women in the UK believed the Government was focusing on issues that mattered most to them in during the pandemic – this compares with 50% of men.
- In the UK, a higher proportion of Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic parents (37%) reported loss of working hours since last March compared with their White counterparts (26%).
All the reports and polls are available to read here.
Stat of the month – 20 YEARS
November sees the Living Wage Foundation celebrate the 20th anniversary of the living wage. Since it was set up, over 7,000 employers have committed to paying staff a fair day’s wage for a hard day’s work. The Living Wage Foundation are hosting an online event on 16th November on the future of good employment, which will include discussion on next steps in improving working conditions such as living pensions which the Foundation is supporting
Researchers from YouGov and the University of Bristol are currently collecting data on how the end of the furlough schemes and the £20 cut to Universal Credit are affecting people. The next edition of our Financial Impact Tracker will be published in December.
Podcast of the month
It’s an old one, first broadcast in 2015, but we’re nominating ‘The Long View’ in celebration of the anniversary of the Living Wage. This episode sees Jonathan Freedland look at the history of the living wage in the UK, he goes back to 1894 to investigate the development of the concept in the UK.
Our next deadline for grant applications is 4 February 2022 (1pm). We expect to fund around £3m in grants next year.
Do you have an idea? Have a read of our Funding Guidelines to see if it’s something which fits our mission to improve living standards for people on low to middle incomes and tackle financial problems they face.