Who has gained and lost most since 2010?

An authoritative and comprehensive analysis of policy, spending, outcomes and trends across nine different areas of UK social policy was published by LSE and University of Manchester.

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.

Aleks Collingwood looks at how people have been affected across different age groups since the coalition government came into power in May 2010.

In 2013, the same research team examined Labour’s Social Policy Record from 1997 to 2010 as part of this programme of work. Their evidence review and analysis shows that in 2014 (compared with 2010 ):

Children aged under five had:

  • More access to early education from age two if from a disadvantaged household;
  • A higher (now at 50%) chance of a qualified, specialised graduate working in early education;
  • 26% less funding for services per child, as well as child benefit cut and baby tax credit abolished;
  • Fewer staff and nursery places in Sure Start centres and further to travel;
  • Less chance of accessing services unless assessed as ‘at risk of poor outcomes’.

Children aged 11 were:

  • Benefiting from better 'pupil premium' support if in a disadvantaged group;
  • Starting to experience a more traditional curriculum;
  • If in a high vulnerability family, may be benefiting from the Troubled Families programme;
  • Likely to be seeing a reduction in family income if the family receives benefits or tax credits.

Young people aged 16 to 18 were:

  • More likely to have attended an academy than a local authority controlled school;
  • Benefiting from better 'pupil premium' support if in a disadvantaged group;
  • Required to be in education or training if 17 (up from 16). Less likely to be classed as 'not in employment, education or training' (NEET);
  • If in poverty, supported by a new Bursary Fund which is less generous than the previous Education Maintenance Allowance;
  • Facing £9,000 fees per year for university, but even if in poverty, unlikely to be deterred from applying for higher education.

Working age adults were:

  • Likely to have experienced falling real wages or self-employment earnings;
  • Less likely to be unemployed and more likely to be self-employed;
  • If above middle income, seeing net gains from higher tax-free allowance. If below middle, seeing net losses from greater cuts in benefits and tax credits;
  • Young adults are earning less than recent generations at the same age;
  • Less likely to be able to buy a home (especially if young), and more likely to be in private renting. If on housing benefit, more likely to be facing a shortfall between benefit and actual housing costs;
  • If receiving benefits, more likely be 'sanctioned' if conditions not met;
  • If disabled, less likely to quality for new Employment Support Allowance payments;
  • Facing a later age for receiving state pension;
  • Auto-enrolled in workplace pension.

Adults aged over 65 were:

  • More likely to be providing unpaid care to a disabled or older person;
  • More likely to be relying on unpaid care;
  • Seeing higher pensions due to 'triple lock' uprating, protected from ‘bedroom tax’ and new council tax contributions;
  • Less likely to receive community care services unless in severe need, but improved quality of life if receiving services;
  • If reaching state pension age from 2016, no longer required to annuitise pension provision so that they have an annual retirement income that is paid to them for the rest of their life by age 75, and greater freedom to draw down from a pension pot.

It is clear that pensioners have been protected from austerity more than working age people or young children, as far as taxes and benefits are concerned. Older people have, however, been negatively impacted by reductions in local social care spending, especially when lower levels of care are needed.

The next government will have significant decisions to make about spending and saving across services to achieve social and economic goals. If poverty reduction is going to be at its heart, then it needs to apply a rigorous analysis of the anticipated effects on people on poverty ahead of the Comprehensive Spending Review.