Welcome to the JRF blog, where our experts comment on topical social issues and new research on the themes of poverty, place and ageing society. We encourage comments and discussion – please read our comments policy.

10 facts you need to know before the general election

by Claire Ainsley

As we approach one of the most unpredictable general elections in recent history, one thing is certain. The facts behind the policy statements will be in dispute – and the public know it. This week’s NatCen poll for the UK Statistics Authority shows that while the public do trust official statistics, they just don’t trust the media or politicians to present them honestly.

Reform for NEETs must work for those most in need

by Alice Rowland

Opportunities for young people to gain skills are welcome – but reforms must be tailored to local labour markets, says Alice Rowland.

It’s time to give Britain a pay rise and improve our low-wage economy

by Louise Woodruff

Better pay makes sense all round, as workers are not the only ones to benefit – employers reap the rewards too, says Louise Woodruff.

Welfare reforms must reflect the changing UK labour market

by Chris Goulden

The welfare system has to acknowledge realities that undermine poverty reduction, says Chris Goulden.

Who has gained and lost most since 2010?

by Aleks Collingwood

Last week, an authoritative and comprehensive analysis of policy, spending, outcomes and trends across nine different areas of UK social policy was published by the London School of Economics and the University of Manchester.

The trouble with education is that politicians keep trying to fix it

by Helen Barnard

The debate about failing schools and league tables obscures the more significant issue of the gap between richer and poorer children’s results, says Helen Barnard.

Ignoring persistent poverty is no way to build a thriving economy

by Julia Unwin

Enduring poverty is becoming a permanent feature of the UK economy – and that’s dangerous for us all, says Julia Unwin.

Lowering the benefits cap makes least well-off poorer

by Helen Barnard

Cutting benefits for the least well-off doesn’t help people move into work – evidence shows it just makes them poorer, says Helen Barnard.

Inequality must be explicit on the cities agenda

by Josh Stott

Yesterday’s Cities Outlook 2015 event raises some important questions around the growing inequalities between and within cities in the UK. Unless recognition of these inequalities becomes a more explicit component of the cities agenda, things are only going to get worse, says Josh Stott.

Full employment alone will not close the living standards gap

by Katie Schmuecker

Full employment must go hand-in-hand with better pay and government support for low-paid workers as a new report highlights the gulf in living standards for many families, says Katie Schmeucker.