How English care homes have coped with the National Living Wage

Giulia Giupponi 150Giulia Giupponi is an ESRC-funded PhD student at the London School of Economics and a research assistant at the Centre for Economic Performance.

Steve Machin 150Stephen Machin is Professor of Economics at the London School of Economics and Director of the Centre for Economic Performance.

They have been advising the Low Pay Commission on the impact of the National Living Wage on English care homes.

On 1 April, all five UK minimum wage rates were increased (PDF), a year on from introduction of the National Living Wage (NLW) for workers aged 25 and over with a rate of £7.20 an hour. Rates for younger workers remained at the level of the existing National Minimum Wage (NMW). The NLW is set to achieve the 2020 target of 60 per cent of median earnings. Given the scale of the change – a 7.5 per cent increase at the time of the NLW introduction (PDF) – and the ambitious target set for 2020, a natural question is the impact on employment and other margins of adjustment by firms. Continue reading

Crime time: how a Festival event inspired my teaching

Ruth Shaw 150Ruth Shaw is Curriculum Leader for Social Sciences at Nelson and Colne College, where she teaches A-level Sociology.

In November 2016 she attended a crime-themed event, hosted by OCR as part of the ESRC’s Festival of Social Science. The event gave her some real-world inspiration for teaching her students

As a teacher of sociology, this event was a rare and refreshing opportunity to think about how research into crime spans across a range of social science subjects – it was great to discuss ideas that spanned across geography, law, citizenship, psychology and sociology – and as you can probably tell from what I go on to write next, there was lots packed into a day! Continue reading

Tax credit cuts: the impact on families

Agnes Norris Keller 150.jpgAgnes Norris Keiller is a research economist at the Institute for Fiscal Studies and works in the Income, Work and Welfare sector. She currently works on projects related to the income distribution and the labour market.

Here she examines the changes to the tax credits system which are being introduced this month, and what the changes might mean for those receiving them in the future

The first week of April saw the introduction of significant cuts to the working-age benefits system.

The allocation of tax credits (and universal credit, which is replacing tax credits and three other working-age means-tested benefits) currently depends on the number of children in a family. Continue reading

Discovering diet and exploring eating with UK teenagers

Peter Hovard 150Dr Peter Hovard is currently working as a Behavioural Insights Consultant, and was previously part of the National Diet and Nutrition Survey (NDNS) team based at NatCen.

As part of the ESRC’s Festival of Social Science 2016, the NDNS team ran an interactive session with a group of teenagers studying AS-level sociology. Here Peter explains how the students got involved and what made the day successful.

Children are not meeting many health targets, with teenagers being the main offenders with unhealthy eating. In fact, using figures from the National Diet and Nutrition Survey (NDNS), Cancer Research UK calculated that UK teenagers drink enough fizzy drinks to fill a bathtub each year. Continue reading

Tackling the social costs of mental ill health

Gordon HaroldProfessor Gordon Harold is the Andrew and Virginia Rudd Professor of Child and Adolescent Mental Health in the School of Psychology at the University of Sussex.

Today the government launches its Improving Lives: Helping Workless Families policy paper, which aims to improve outcomes for children who grow up in workless families. A core emphasis of the report is on ESRC-funded research showing that children who experience acrimonious conflict between parents are at risk for multiple poor outcomes, including reduced mental health.

Here, Gordon highlights the role of social science in improving mental health research and the outcomes this can have on society.

Mental health is fundamentally the bedrock of a successful and productive society. Recent estimates (PDF) suggest that by the year 2020, depression will represent the second leading cause of time lost to illness. In 2015, mental health-related issues were found to lead to approximately 17.6 million days sick leave, or 12.7 per cent of the total sick days taken in the UK. Continue reading