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|A Minimum Income Standard for Britain is a major ongoing research
project producing benchmark minimum standards for different family
types. These show how much families need in order to afford to buy
goods and services that members of the public, in detailed discussions,
decide are needed for a minimum acceptable standard of living.|
The initial research programme ran from 2006 to 2008, culminating in a widely-publicised initial report in July 2008. Having overseen the project as an adviser to its funder, the Joseph Rowntree Foundation, I helped explain its findings to the press and public, for example in this interview on the BBC's Today Programme. Since October 2008, as Head of Income Studies at the Centre for Research in Social Policy (CRSP) at Loughborough University, I have been leading the very capable team carrying out this work, with Noel Smith and Abby Davis doing most of the research and Nicky Selby and Sharon Walker providing admin support.
Our latest report updating the standard for 2009 shows that people on low incomes are currently facing a much higher than average rise in the cost of living.
Our team is now looking at how minimum requirements may differ in rural areas. We are hoping soon to review what effect the recession has had on attitudes to necessities. Our methods have been taken up in Ireland, and may soon be the basis of a major research project in France (watch this space).