events archive

Less cash? More inequality?

The reality of changes in UK living standards

7:00pm, Wednesday 21 September 2011, London

Daniel Ben-Ami will introduce a discussion on trends in living standards in Britain. There is much talk about growing poverty, rising inequality and the impact of public spending cuts on the British population. This discussion will seek to identify real material changes in living standards. It will attempt to work out developments in relation to poverty, inequality and austerity in recent years. It will also consider the pitfalls of different approaches to measuring such shifts. In the aftermath of the English riots and against a background of ongoing austerity, it is important to establish to what degree Britons are really feeling the pinch.

Questions to consider

- What was the impact of the recent recession on popular living standards?
- How strong is the evidence that inequality is widening?
- Besides changes to wages what other factors are important in determining movements in living standards?
- What are the implications of having different measures of inflation when trying to measure changes in living standards?
- What is the best way methodologically to approach the question of changing living standards?

READINGS

Feeling the pinch, Roger Bootle, Economic Review (Deloitte)
UK high street faces difficult decade as consumer squeeze intensifies and households focus on paying down debt, Ernst & Young Item Club
Living Standards During the Recession, Institute for Fiscal Studies
An Anatomy of Economic Inequality in the UK, National Equality Panel
The Impact of the Recession on Household Income (podcast), Office for National Statistics
Social Trends: Labour Market, Office for National Statistics
Missing Out, Matthew Whitaker and Lee Savage