This article reports on a participatory, mixed-methods study, of the causes and lived experiences of food insecurity in the context of an unequal city in England. Among families with young children, we find that income and housing tenure are strongly associated with food insecurity and food bank use, and these impacts extend to higher socioeconomic status groups. Higher costs of food, housing and transport associated with life in an unequal context, meant that food formed part of a series of competing pressures on household budgets. We urge future food insecurity research to focus further on these broader socioeconomic drivers of poverty.
Critics of Universal Basic Income (UBI) have claimed that it would be either unaffordable or inadequate. This discussion paper tests this claim by examining the distributional impacts of three UBI schemes broadly designed to provide pathways to attainment of the Minimum Income Standard (MIS). We use microsimulation of data from the Family Resources Survey to outline the static distributional impacts and costs of the schemes. Our key finding is that even the fiscally neutral starter scheme would reduce child poverty to the lowest level achieved since 1961 and achieve more than the anti-poverty interventions of the New Labour Governments from 2000. The more generous schemes would make further inroads into the UK’s high levels of poverty and inequality, but at greater cost. We conclude by assessing fiscal strategies to reduce the up-front deficit of higher schemes, providing a more positive assessment of affordability and impact than critics have assumed.
Since 2007 Born in Bradford (BiB) has been following the health and wellbeing of over 36,000 families living in Bradford, an ethnically diverse and deprived city in the North of England. It hosts three birth cohort studies, two of which have gathered recent pre-COVID-19 information on their participants. BiB have explored the short- and longer-term societal impacts of the COVID-19 response on health trajectories and inequalities in vulnerable families from minority ethnic and deprived backgrounds. This chapter describes the findings from: two time points of the longitudinal BiB COVID-19 surveys (April–June 2020 and October–December 2020) which were compared to recently collected pre-pandemic baseline information; and an in-depth qualitative study on mental health. When compared to pre-pandemic data, three overarching themes were apparent across a large number of parents and children: (i) increased financial insecurity; (ii) increased mental ill health; and (iii) reduced physical activity. These themes were evident at both survey time points, indicating long-lasting impacts of the pandemic. The Government’s response to the pandemic has had unintended negative consequences, with the greatest impact being on those families who were already vulnerable. To recover effectively from the pandemic, additional support will be needed to support the most vulnerable families.