A data led investigation into the causes and
Policy in Practice is bringing councils together
With welfare reform, rising living costs, job insecurity and the roll-out of Universal Credit, it is a time of real change for low-income Londoners. The response from policy makers needs to be right if we are to prevent many thousands of people from being pushed into real financial hardship because of the changes.
This project is unique in the way that it examines household benefits data for over half a million Londoners and allows that data to be linked over time.
Our work observing the living standards of half a million
households in London, over two years, shows that:
- Poverty is not static: Almost one-third of households moved into or out of work in the first year
- Financial resilience must take expenditure into account: This captures more households in work and who need support
- London has many self employed workers at risk of poverty: A quarter of all London households in work are self employed, nearly 80% will lose more than £4,000 a year under Universal Credit
- Households affected by the Benefit Cap are 3.5% more times likely to move into work
The project proves what can be revealed when local authorities collaborate with their data. Tracking households over time tells policymakers what support is effective. The evidence base we’ve developed is now a powerful tool, capable of influencing central government. Our approach is proven and deserves wider application.
London Boroughs participating
- Barking and Dagenham
- Hammersmith and Fulham
- Kensington and Chelsea
- Tower Hamlets
- Waltham Forest
We are actively recruiting more London Boroughs to join Wave Two. It is free to take part and you’ll learn how the living standards of low-income households in your area compare to the rest of London.
Email [email protected] to join now.
London Boroughs not yet participating
- Outer London boroughs are more heavily impacted by welfare reforms
- An effective measure of living standards should take needs into account
- Tracking employment patterns shows disability is the greatest barrier
- The benefit cap disproportionally affects temporary accommodation
Related blog post
- Many low income Londoners are self employed
- UC will hit self employed low-income Londoners hard
- A third of families got jobs, a third moved home and a third left due to the benefit cap
- Those most hit by the cap are private renting lone parents
Related blog posts
We recently shared the latest findings from our pan-London analysis of living standards, tracking 600,000 low income families across 19 London boroughs over two years. The work is unique in its use of large scale administrative data, linked over time, and its ability to look forward at poverty projections for individual households. The approach is being used by a dozen local authorities across the UK to target support.
Highlights from Phase Three include:
- Low income Londoners are becoming less financially resilient. The proportion of Londoners with low financial resilience has grown by 20% in the last two years, and will continue to grow through to 2020
- Employment helps build financial resilience. Employment is the main driver of people improving their financial resilience; for people affected, welfare reforms are a driver of lower resilience, but they don’t tell the full story
- Living standards fluctuate. Over two years a quarter of low income households in work lost their job at least once; improving job stability can help build resilience
- The future isn’t bright. Londoners on low incomes face a bleak future with an average drop in their disposable income of £100 p/w if rents and other livings costs continue to rise as expected
Related blog post
About the project
Data can tell us what impact national and local policies are having on low income households and help us design interventions that work better for people.
Local authorities hold valuable data sets that, analysed intelligently, can give insights to help better understand the drivers of poverty in their area. This knowledge helps them meet the legal responsibility they have to support their most vulnerable people.
Supported by Trust for London Policy in Practice has embarked on an ambitious project to track changing living standards for almost one million Londoners. Combining anonymised household level data sets from councils across London we are tracking income, employment and poverty for half a million low income households over two years, on a monthly basis.
Wave One is now complete and we’re currently recruiting more London Boroughs to join us in Wave Two. To get involved email [email protected].