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.

#indyref provides Scotland a once in a generation opportunity to tackle poverty

by Julia Unwin

Whatever the outcome of Thursday’s independence referendum vote, Scotland must get to grips with high levels of poverty in the country, says Julia Unwin.

Benefits sanctions are adding to bleak prospects for young people

by Beth Watts

Sanctions are having unintended consequences and may increase the risk of young people living in poverty, says Beth Watts.

Tackle students’ low attainment by addressing culture of low expectations

by Sam Freedman

Poverty alone doesn’t necessarily lead to poor exam results. We need to look at attitudes among families, communities and schools, says Sam Freedman.

Care about poverty? Here are 10 reasons why you also need to think about ethnicity

by Helen Barnard

Ethnicity matters when it comes to tackling poverty. But, says Helen Barnard, it's not about broad generalisations.

Help for childcare must keep up with the rising cost of living

by Katie Schmuecker

With the cost of bringing up a child now approaching £90 a week, the government needs to do more to help low-earning families, says Katie Schmuecker.

We need a better understanding of poverty to change attitudes

by Jenny Rolinson

A more collaborative approach would help bust the myths about poverty, says Jenny Rolison.

We need new civic institutions to confront the challenges of the 21st century

by Thomas Neumark

Online groups like Mumsnet can fill the void left by declining trade unions, social clubs and political parties, says Thomas Neumark.

Build more homes to strengthen families and reduce poverty

by Tim Montgomerie

We need a political model that values social as well as economic growth, says Tim Montgomerie.

Should large families face benefit sanctions?

by Helen Barnard

As a leading think tank says parents should only be able to claim child benefit for their first four children, Helen Barnard questions what the move would actually achieve. 

Getting just five per cent more single parents into work could save the government £436m

by Sumi Rabindrakumar

Employment must be made a viable route out of poverty for struggling lone parent families, says Sumi Rabindrakumar.