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From pandemic to cost of living crisis: low-income families in challenging times

This study looks at the experiences of a group of low-income families during the second half of the pandemic, and how they have faced a changing and increasingly uncertain world.

Written by:
Katherine Hill and Ruth Webber
Date published:

Emerging from the pandemic but heading into a cost-of-living crisis, families need greater stability and support to allow them to meet their needs.

  • Families on low incomes need a state safety-net that provides adequate financial support that they can rely on. Guaranteeing benefit uprating in line with expected inflation would be an important start, given rising living costs and the removal of the £20-a-week Universal Credit (UC) uplift.
  • Employment laws should support access to secure employment, with sufficient wages and rights that fit in with family life, including greater control over working hours and arrangements.
  • Statutory Sick Pay should be paid from the first day of sickness, rather than the fourth, to avoid people working when sick because they cannot afford the loss of earnings.
  • Services including the benefits system and additional financial help, mental health and other GP services, need to be easier to access with better information and easier channels of communication, whether or not people are online.
  • Priority needs to be given to helping families achieve full digital access, especially where children do not have access to a laptop or broadband.