What are the consequences of bringing up a family on an income that falls below the minimum income standard? This study draws on the experiences of 30 families with incomes below a standard based on what members of the public think people need. Such families today face changing pressures that impact on their material and emotional well-being, and require them to take difficult decisions about what to prioritise.
July 2016 | Authors: Katherine Hill, Abigail Davis, Donald Hirsch, Lydia Marshall | Joseph Rowntree Foundation
Authors: Abigail Davis, Katherine Hill, Donald Hirsch and Matt Padley (Joseph Rowntree Foundation)
Published: July 2016
This report is the 2016 update of the Minimum Income Standard for the United Kingdom, based on what members of the public think people need for an acceptable minimum standard of living.
July 2016 | Citizens Advice Bureau
In the years after the financial crisis, levels of unsecured personal debt in the UK fell from a historical peak of 23% of disposable income in 2008 to its current level of around 15%. That trend has now started to reverse. Unsecured debt is now growing faster than incomes and faster than secured debt, and the Office of Budget Responsibility (OBR) has forecast PDF the level of unsecured debt to return to pre-crisis levels by the end of the decade. Within wider concerns about the possible impact of a return to such high levels of debt on the economy, there is an ongoing challenge faced by the individuals and families who have unmanageable debt, of managing their financial situation.
Authors: Rachel Lilley, James Cass and Bob Jacques ( Ymlaen Ceredigion in partnership with Ceredigion County Council and Aberystwyth University)
Published: June 2016
This research from Ymlaen Ceredigion in partnership with Ceredigion County Council and Aberystwyth University, looks at the role that human behaviour plays in energy efficiency and how adapting these behaviours is as crucial as installing physical technologies. The research builds on the wealth of evidence that shows why generic energy efficiency advice is ineffective at bringing about behaviour change, and used a “Home Energy Coaching” approach that is highly tailored to the circumstances and needs of each individual householder. Through coaching, householders were enabled to take control over their energy consumption and seek their own solutions to achieving greater energy efficiency. The project targeted electrically heated homes with an EPC of E – G. The results were striking, amongst them, “Households reduced their energy usage by an average of 19%” and “56% of households reduced their energy usage by 10% or more”.
June 2016 | Money and Mental Health Policy Institute
Money and Mental Health is the new Policy Institute set up by Martin Lewis to tackle the toxic relationship between financial difficulties and mental health problems. Today Money and Mental Health launch their flagship report Money on your mind. This is the largest study of its kind, drawing on the experiences of nearly five and a half thousand people with mental health problems.
Published: April 2016
The SSE/Swalec funded Wales Debt & Mentoring Project was delivered by NEA Cymru in Wales between 2012-16. The project aimed to build capacity amongst frontline advice workers in Wales to enable them to successfully help low income vulnerable clients with fuel debt. The Assisting Fuel Poor Communities in Wales through the Wales Fuel Debt & Mentoring Project’ is an evaluation report of the project. The report highlights the success of the project in training frontline staff and various case studies on how staff have utilised training to support those in fuel debt.
Author: Helen Stockton, NEA
Published: April 2016
During 2014-15 NEA worked in partnership with npower, the Trussell Trust and individual food bank providers in the pilot areas of County Durham, Gloucester, Kingston and the Wirral to develop the npower Fuel Bank™ scheme. The npower Fuel Bank is an innovative and novel approach to supporting households in energy crisis and is targeted at food bank service-users that use a pre-payment meter (PPM) who are struggling with their energy costs and at immediate risk self-disconnection and/or rationing of energy. During the pilot phase NEA was commissioned by npower to undertake an evaluation of the Fuel Bank to assess the impact of the fuel bank on service-users and to assess the operational processes and administration of the scheme from the view of both food bank providers and those that used the service.
The Fuel Bank provides a fuel voucher to the value of £49 (equivalent to approx. two weeks’ dual fuel use) in three pilot areas and £30 (equivalent to approx. one week’s dual fuel use) in one pilot area (the Wirral). The evaluation identified three direct principal benefits to fuel voucher recipients: 1) enabling reconnection to energy supplies (in cases of self-disconnection); 2) helping to prevent self-disconnection where emergency credit is already being used; and 3) helping to reduce or pay down a proportion of energy debt, including preventing use of emergency credit. There were also several other indirect benefits to recipients, including helping to regain control over household budget and debts; providing relief to those experiencing stress and anxiety; and enabling families access to the basics that are often and rightly taken for granted by most.
Author: National Institute for Clinical Excellence
Published: April 2016
This quality standard covers preventing excess winter deaths and health problems associated with cold homes. It includes people of all ages, and takes into account that some people are particularly vulnerable to the effects of the cold, such as people with cardiovascular or mental health conditions, young children and older people.
April 2016 | Prepared by Accent for Citizens Advice
This research sought to establish what would work best and what would not work well in the design of incentives to encourage consumers to install energy efficiency measures. The aim was to establish principles for the design of effective, long-term, sustainable drivers of consumer action on energy efficiency. The research consisted of a literature review and focus group based workshops with consumers.
Authors: Sophie Adam and Rachel Monaghan for NCB
Published: April 2016
This project has given young people, including young parents, a voice on the issue of fuel poverty. The aim of this project was to gai insight and understanding of fuel poverty issues and their impact on young people, their peers, their families and their community. We also looked at solutions that young people believe that their peers, their families and their communities can implement and will make a difference.