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.

Work is good for your health – should we cheer or circle the wagons?

by Helen Barnard

Encouraging more sick and disabled people to find work could be good for their health, Iain Duncan Smith said yesterday. But what does the evidence say? Helen Barnard takes a look.

Boot camp for unemployed youths – the Marmite policy

by Helen Barnard

Are three-week ‘boot camps’ the best way to help unemployed young people get a first step on the career ladder? Helen Barnard looks at the evidence.

What the rest of Britain can learn from the way Wales is tackling homelessness

by Brian Robson

People in Wales will be offered more help to avoid losing their home – but new laws could also undo that good work, says Brian Robson.

Benefit cap is failing to tackle the cause of high benefits

by Katie Schmuecker

New statistics on the impact of the benefit cap show some success in getting people into work – but a strategy to tackle the drivers of benefit spending would bring more significant savings, says Katie Schmuecker.

How are household debts being affected by the economic recovery?

by Aleks Collingwood

With the average household debt reaching £3,500 at the last count, those on the lowest incomes are being hardest hit, says Aleks Collingwood.

Can self employment be a route out of poverty for low-paid workers?

by Helen Barnard

Self-employment can be an opportunity but, says Helen Barnard, many people are doing it because they can’t find secure jobs. Research from the Social Market Foundation published today shows how self-employment could be made a better option for people on low incomes.

Housing demand is not just about numbers - it's about tenures too

by Brian Robson

Access to good, affordable housing is critical if we are to reduce poverty in the UK and make sure housing is affordable for future generations, says Brian Robson.

Falling earnings have wiped out employment gains for poverty

by Chris Goulden

Most child poverty is now the result of low hours or low pay, not worklessness. Chris Goulden looks at what this means for working families.

What do low-paid workers think would improve their working lives?

by Louise Woodruff

Employers have a huge role to play in delivering better jobs in traditionally low-paid sectors, says Louise Woodruff.

We need higher productivity to improve people's living standards

by Katie Schmuecker

There is no doubt that low income working families need to see measures to improve their living standards, but – asks Katie Schmuecker - has this week’s ‘budget for working people’ delivered it?