judgement about what constitutes minimum needs. Successive governments have argued there is no single, objective way of determining what constitutes a minimum acceptable income for a particular person or family, although independent researchers have made a number of attempts. Section 2 of Library Research Paper 13/1, Welfare Benefits Uprating Bill, 2013 , gives an overview of the debate. One such attempt is a major annual research project funded by the Joseph Rowntree Foundation, which estimates Minimum Income Standards (MIS) for different household types in the UK. The research involves in-depth consultation with members of the public, combined with expert knowledge, to identify the level of income required to meet a minimum acceptable standard of living – “having what you need in order to have the opportunities and choices necessary to participate in society.” The first findings were published in 2008 and are updated each year. 26
Understanding Society provides estimates of the proportion of people entering and exiting low income between one year and the next. It uses a strict definition of entry and exit so that the estimates “only include ‘clear’ transitions” into and out of low income. Thus only people who move from having an income above the relative low income threshold to having an income at least 10% below the threshold in the following year are counted as entering poverty. Similarly, for someone to be counted as exiting poverty, they must go from having an income below the threshold to having an income at least 10% above the following year’s threshold. Figures refer to income before housing costs. 22
Working-age non-parents were the only major demographic group not to see a fall in relative poverty between 2007–08 and 2012–13 (although there was a fall when looking just at the change between 2011–12 and 2012–13; however, this was not significant). This is a group who are, on average, more reliant on earnings and less reliant on benefits than children and pensioners, even when focusing only on low income groups. In 2012–13, benefits made up 88% of household income for the poorest 30% of pensioners, 62% for the poorest 30% of children and 38% for the poorest 30% of working-age non-parents. This helps to explain why they benefited less from the rise in benefits relative to earnings during the recession. In addition, working-age adults without dependent children are relatively likely to be young adults, and […] adults aged under 30 saw the largest falls in wages and employment rates during the recession. 8
Equivalisation means that the income threshold below which someone is considered to be in poverty differs by household type. Suppose a family with children has the same (unequivalised) disposable income as a single person: it is possible for the family to be counted as being in poverty even if the single person is not, because they have to make their income stretch across all household members. The standard of living afforded by a given level of income will of course depend on the price of goods and services, so when making comparisons between years we adjust incomes for inflation (to obtain ‘real’ incomes).
Placing new nursing, midwifery and AHP students on the student support system will, in general, provide more living cost support for students during their studies, as the student support system is substantially more than the combination of means-tested and non-means-tested bursaries. However, these new arrangements would increase the time period of student loan repayments students have upon graduation. Concerns about the impact on participation could be mitigated by evidence that increases in fees in the wider higher education system did not have a detrimental impact on application numbers for university, including among lower income groups. In fact, statistics show that in the wider system students are now more likely to apply to university than they were in 2010. It is important to note that the policy would place nursing, midwifery and AHP students on the same student support system as the general student population. There is a built in protection for the lowest earners whereby loan repayments cease where earnings drop below £21,000.
The cap on fees in England was increased to £9,000 for new undergraduate students in 2012. The average headline fee in the first year of the new system was around £8,400. It has increased each year since then, despite the cap remaining at £9,000, to just under £8,900 in 2016/17. More detail on the debate around the 2012 changes, variations in fees and impacts of higher fees are given in the notes listed below with a specific 2012 focus. In 2015 the Government announced that the cap would be increased for universities with a successful performance under the Teaching Excellence Framework (TEF). The cap will be increased annually by inflation from 2017-18 for institutions that meet the TEF standards. The 2017-18 cap is £9,250 for institutions and the average headline fee is expected to increase to £9,100.
At the same time, the cost of servicing rapidly increasing DB scheme deficits—exacerbated by low investment returns—is placing an ever greater burden on UK firms. The Office for National Statistics estimates that in 2015 companies made special deficit repair contributions to DB schemes of £11 billion in addition to ordinary employer contributions of £20 billion. This may constrain their ability to increase employment or engage in productive investment. Today’s younger workers are therefore faced with supporting the inadequately-funded DB schemes of their older colleagues and retired predecessors, while being denied the opportunity to accrue pension entitlements on the same basis. Paul Johnson, Director of the IFS, told us that this was tantamount to a “very clear redistribution” between
The number of starts on apprenticeship standards increased by over 60,000 between 2016/17 and 2017/18, while the number of framework starts fell by almost 260,000. 25% of apprenticeship starts were on standards in 2017/18, up from just 2% in 2016/17. 83% of all starts were in four subject areas: Business, Administration and Law; Health, Public Services and Care; Engineering and Manufacturing Technologies and Retail & Commercial Enterprise.
The OECD has made some comparisons of different aspects of student loans. The most recent mainly cover arrangement in 2014/15. The complexity of loan systems in many countries means that direct comparisons are not straightforward. Full detail can be found here (indicator B5). In general UK (English system) interest rates on loans were somewhat higher than typical rates. The annual average loan amount was higher than that in any other country with data on the subject, as was the proportion of students taking out loans. Annual income repayment thresholds (where they exist) are generally lower elsewhere than the income contingent threshold for the UK.
Much of the information in this note is taken from the annual Higher Education Statistics Agency (HESA) publications Resources of higher education institutions and its recent replacements. A limited amount of free information can be found on the HESA website. The most recent Patterns and Trends in UK Higher Education from Universities UK looks at 10 year trends in the sector and variations between institutions on a number of different indicators. The Higher Education Funding Council for England publishes an annual financial assessment of the sector in England. The latest version is Financial results and TRAC outcomes 2014-15, forecasts are given in Financial health of the higher education sector: 2015-16 to 2018-19 forecasts
education students who have caring responsibilities for children can apply for funding to help with childcare, in addition to mainstream student loans. Some students with adult dependants who meet eligibility criteria may qualify for an Adult Dependants’ Grant. This is non-repayable and in 2017/18 the maximum amount is £2,834. Many higher education institutions have adopted Carers Policies to support students who are carers as part of their equality agenda. Carers Policies aim to allow flexibility for student carers and attempt to make sure that students are not disadvantaged by their caring responsibilities, whilst ensuring that any accommodations made for students do not compromise academic standards. In 2015 the Carers Trust published a guidance document - Supporting Students with Caring Responsibilities: Ideas and Practice for Universities to Help Student Carers Access and Succeed in Higher Education England version - to help universities formulate their carers policies. The document contains examples of universities’ carers policies. 88
On 1 October 2017 the Prime Minister announced that there would be changes to the student finance system: the fee cap would be frozen at £9,250, the repayment threshold would rise to £25,000 and a there would be a review of the student finance system. This note gives a background to student loans, statistics on their take-up, total value owed, repayment, public expenditure, arguments for reform and factors that affect take- up. It does not look in detail at the repayment system in England for new students from 2012/13 which is included in the note Changes to higher education funding and student support from 2012/13 . 2 Student Loans Company data used to cover the UK as a whole,
Not adjusting for seasonal effects, 157,100 people aged 18-24 were claiming Jobseeker’s Allowance or were claiming Universal Credit and required to seek work in July 2017. This is 2,200 fewer than a year ago. These numbers are, however, highly seasonal and are impacted by the ongoing rollout of Universal Credit. Under Universal Credit, a broader span of claimants are required to look for work than under Jobseeker's Allowance. This has the effect of increasing the number of unemployed claimants compared to the previous system. Additionally, Universal Credit appears to follow a different seasonal pattern to Jobseeker’s Allowance.
Figures are based on a survey so some of the reported changes may arise from survey error rather than ‘real’ changes in the levels. The unemployment rate (the proportion of the economically active population who are unemployed) for 16-24 year olds was 11.4% in May-July 2019. This is up from 11.2% in the previous quarter and up slightly from 11.3% a year before.
designated as particularly vulnerable. Male Irish travellers in Ireland have a suicide rate 6.6 times higher than the general population; Gypsy Travellers in the Thames Valley have a 100-fold excess risk of measles arising from low immunisation. The report of the Confidential Enquiry into Maternal Deaths in the UK, 1997-99, found that Travellers have ‘possibly the highest maternal death rate among all ethnic groups’. These population health findings based on robust data are stark and require urgent public health focus, including targeted suicide prevention services, a robust system of reporting of infectious diseases in the Gypsy/Traveller population and of levels of immunisation (both currently absent), and a robust system for monitoring maternal mortality (also absent) . 89
The data included earlier in this note is the most consistent time series available. To go further back in time means using more than one series and introducing some inconsistencies. Table 2 at the end of this note gives various public education expenditure series back to the early 1950s. Where there is overlap in years the series show little variation, so we can be confident that the overall pattern of change over this period is broadly accurate. See the table footnotes for more detail.
The 2017 Queen’s Speech delivered on 21 June 2017 stated that the Government would “work to ensure people have the skills they need for the high-skilled, high-wage jobs of the future, including through a major reform of technical education.” The background notes to the speech provided an outline of the reforms to technical education and noted that each of the 15 technical routes will allow progression from Level 2 to Level 5 for college based courses, and to level 7 for
considering how the education system should evolve to respond to the growth in the popularity and number of academies and free schools. Within government and the education sector there is a growing consensus that decision making should lie closer to academies and that those who have a track record of leading good schools should have a stronger role in shaping the system. To begin this shift in emphasis from decision-making in Whitehall to more involvement by schools at a regional level, we are appointing eight RSCs. The RSCs will be taking key decisions about academies on behalf of the Secretary of State, bringing their expertise and local knowledge into the decision making process. This change will not cut across existing accountability lines; accountability will remain with the Secretary of State. 2
As regards children with statements of SEN which name schools as the appropriate placement for a child but parents decide to educate such a child at home, it remains the local authority’s duty to ensure that the child’s needs are met through the provision made by the parents. The local authority can support parents financially in these circumstances under section 319 or section 19 of the Education Act 1996 (this would fall under either paragraph 18 or paragraph 20 of Schedule 2 to the School and Early Years Finance (England) Regulations 2012). In deciding how much support is needed, the local authority should be aware that, unlike schools, parents do not receive base funding from the public purse in support of SEN, and should not therefore be expected to pay £10,000 before they receive any support.
…the additional funding for English language training will mean all adults arriving through the scheme anywhere in the UK will receive an extra 12 hours a week of tuition, for up to 6 months. This is in addition to the language support already provided by local authorities, which is accessed by refugees within a month of their arrival and will assist families to integrate into their new communities more quickly and make it easier for them to seek and obtain work. 30