Cost of living crisis – what you need to know

The UK is going through what is being dubbed a ‘cost of living crisis’ in the media. There are many factors that have contributed to the concerns and issues that are now stopping people’s paychecks from stretching as far as before – for many that now means struggling to cover basic needs such as food, warmth and shelter. This LGIU bundle showcases the different components and the critical role of local government in the midst of these rising concerns, including two new briefings..

Our latest LGIU briefing addresses the many components of the current cost of living crisis – such as energy prices, accelerating inflation, earnings, taxes, and benefits – and explains how older households and families in inefficient homes are particularly likely to be badly affected. Read the full briefing here.

The 2022 Spring Statement: Economic and fiscal analysis and the cost of living crisis

This briefing focuses for the most part on the Office for Budget Responsibility’s (OBR’s) March 2022 Economic and Fiscal Outlook which accompanied the Spring Statement on 23 March, together with the OBR’s assessment of the Chancellor’s fiscal plans. Read this briefing.

UK Poverty 2022: the JRF's essential guide

Two years since the pandemic started, some groups face better prospects in 2022 but others are mired in deep and persistent poverty, according to the JRF’s latest report. Whilst the direst economic predictions about the pandemic has not materialised, the poorest households face rising inflation, soaring energy costs and tax rises. Read here.

IFS 2021 Report: Living standards, poverty and inequality in the UK

This briefing covers the 2021 report by the Institute for Fiscal Studies (IFS) on trends in living standards, poverty, and inequality in the UK. The IFS publish regularly on living standards and inequality but in this report, there is a focus on the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic. Read here.

How much do people need to live on? JRFs minimum income standard 2021

Every year the Joseph Rowntree Foundation (JRF) publish their Minimum Income Standard which allows people to meet material needs and participate in society. This briefing focuses on how people on benefits or on the National Living Wage can reach the MIS in light of potential Covid-19 impacts. Read here.

How ending the universal credit uplift and the social care levy impacts household incomes?

This briefing discusses how the Health and Social Care Levy will work and its likely impact on household finances, along with an outline of the likely impact of ending the Universal Credit uplift – in the context of other additional burdens on household incomes. Read here.

Is it time for a new Beveridge? Modernising the welfare state post-Covid-19

Following recommendations from William Beveridge, the welfare state was introduced in the UK in 1945 to provide social security and a minimum standard of living for ordinary people. This briefing examines the parallels between 1945 and today’s pandemic-challenged society and the arguments for a new Beveridge settlement. Read here.

Thriving not just surviving – a new approach to understanding wellbeing

Wellbeing has become an established concept in policy making: the idea being that policy should promote not just income but ‘what really matters to people’. A report commissioned by the charity, Turn2Us, presents a new model of thriving, co-produced in a participatory process involving service users, academics and practitioners. Read here.

Rising energy costs

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The main driver of increases in household fuel bills is the higher price of wholesale energy, which is determined by global prices. The UK’s energy price cap sets out a maximum level for default energy tariffs, twice a year, based on the cost of supplying energy. This rose by more than 12% in October 2021, and it is expected to rise again in April 2022. According to the Resolution Foundation, if household energy bills jump by more than 50%, the average household bill could rise up to about £2,000 annually.

Rising energy costs have impacted organisations in both the public and private sector, and led to questions surrounding what other kinds of roles (other than domestic retail) could local authorities take in the future of energy systems? Despite the current concerns, there are ways local authorities can act to address rising energy costs that put them on a pathway towards a more wide-ranging and strategic role in future energy systems.

To further explore these issues we have released two new case study briefings that explore the different ways local authorities across the globe have, and can, take the future of energy systems into their own hands. This includes a focus on the specific role of local governments in their community’s energy systems and the economic factors and benefits to be considered.

The concerns surrounding the cost of living crisis and the energy supply crisis is of great interest to councillors and officers in all types of authority, especially those with concerns for poverty reduction, supporting low-income people and hitting targets to address climate change.

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Energy policy in turbulent times: local government’s role in energy systems

Energy issues are in the news at the moment as wholesale gas prices rise and the collapse of utility companies continues. This briefing reviews the potential for local authority engagement in energy grid activities and looks at the options for local government action in energy infrastructure, supply and distribution? Read here.

Energy policy in turbulent times: the economic lever of local government’s role in energy systems

Rising energy prices are pushing more households into debt and poverty which will have significant implications for the public sector, including local authorities. This briefing utilises case study examples that explore how local authorities can take the future of energy systems into their own hands. Read here.

Swift read: Tackling fuel poverty in Scotland

A national strategy to reduce fuel poverty in Scotland has been unveiled – including tighter regulation of housing and better support for households who face barriers making their homes more energy-efficient. This swift read looks at the key proposals. Read here.