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Information Bulletin

Summary of News and Publications from the Week ending 25 November 2013

JRF Activity
Report Partnership Working at Derwenthorpe: are there lessons for the industry? Identifies key lessons for house builders for partnership working. Report - Coping with the Cuts? Local Government and Poorer Communities. This research finds that cuts in spending power and budgeted spend are greater in more deprived local authorities than in more affluent ones, a difference of around 100 per head in both England and Scotland. (See also Audit Commission report below). Austerity could lead to Disraelis two nations becoming a reality Blog from John Low.

Poverty
73% of people in the UK who were low paid in 2002 had either not moved out of low paid work, or had temporarily progressed but found themselves back in low paid work by 2012. Only 18% of workers who were low paid in 2002 had moved up to higher ten years later, which represents 4% of the UK workforce in 2002. Starting Out of Getting Stuck: An analysis of who gets trapped in low paid work - and who escapes is a new report from the Resolution Foundation. A study by the Money Advice Service estimates that 8.8 million people in the UK are in serious debt (of which 58% are employed) but only 17% are accessing help to deal with it. The study, which surveyed 5,000 adults, found that 45% of the 8.8 million have been struggling to pay bills for a year and 48% say debt is preventing them from buying essentials. In the top five indebted areas (mostly cities in the north), over 40% of the adult population is struggling with debts. Indebted Lives: The Complexities of Life in Debt. A new report from think-tank the Smith Institute warns that on current trends, it will take longer to pay off the debts incurred in youth, and by 2025 there will be many more single and older people trapped in problem debt. The report calls on the government to take immediate action, including a national government-backed campaign to make people more aware of the risks of taking on high cost credit and offer better incentives to save. Tomorrows borrowers: personal debt by 2025 and the policy response. Zero hours contracts in the UK have been underestimated, oversimplified and unfairly demonised, according to a new report from the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development. The report looks at the rights and wrongs of zero hours contracts to try to balance the debate which has concentrated on negative effects. The report provides recommendations on best practice for employers. (N.B. Registration required to view the report. Let me know if you would like me to send you the pdf) The Government has announced it will introduce a cap on the cost of payday loans in the Banking Reform Bill, which is already going through Parliament. The level of the cap, which will limit the overall cost of credit not just interest rate levels, will be set by the new industry regulator the Financial Conduct Authority.

Civitas (Institute for the Study of Civil Society) has published a report which advocates restoring the contributory principle to retirement pensions and welfare benefits. It recommends that National Insurance is replaced with personal welfare accounts, which would pay an income while a person is unemployed, taking parental leave, studying in higher education or retired. Beyond Beveridge: Restoring the contributory principle to retirement pensions and welfare benefits. Full report. A new report from the National Audit Office on how local authorities have coped with spending cuts has found that Councils serving the most-deprived areas have seen the biggest reductions in government funding relative to spending since 2010/11. In 49% of the councils serving the most-deprived 20% of areas, the reduction in funding from 2010/11 to 2013/14 was more than 15%. Tough Times 2013: Councils Responses to Financial Challenges from 2010/11 to 2013/14. David Cameron has outlined plans to restrict benefits to EU immigrants, including not being entitled to unemployment benefits for the first three months, payments being stopped after six months if the claimant doesnt have a genuine chance of a job, not being able to claim housing benefit immediately and being deported if new migrants are found sleeping rough. The Disability Benefits Consortium, a group of 50 charities, has published an open letter to Iain Duncan-Smith, calling for disabled people to be exempt from the bedroom tax. The Local Government Pension Scheme, which consists of 101 funds, is woefully inefficient and underfunded, according to a new report from the Centre for Policy Studies. The report recommends improving transparency; adopting standardisation to prepare for digitisation that would be required to centralise all LGPS administration; bringing investment management in-house and facilitating fund mergers, to make use of economics of scale. A new study has associated attention deficit disorder (ADHD) with having a disadvantaged background. Children living in social housing were found to be three times more likely to develop ADHD than children in families who own their own home. The chances of having a child with ADHD were also found to be higher among young mothers, lone parents and mothers with no qualifications. The findings were the results of analysing data from 19,500 UK children. The APPG on hunger and food poverty is calling for a delayed report by the University of Warwick for Defra on the growth of food banks, to be published as a matter of urgency. Amid speculation that the report has been suppressed Defra says the report is still going through review and quality processes.

Place
Research from the NHBC Foundation based on interviews and case studies, has found that consumers who buy new low-carbon homes often misunderstand and incorrectly use the low and zero carbon technologies they contain. (N.B. Registration required to view the report. Let me know if you would like me to send you the pdf) Help to Heat: a solution to the affordability crisis in energy from the Institute for Public Policy Research presents a proposal for a new integrated energy efficiency and fuel poverty framework called Help to Heat. Measures proposed include new low-cost financing options, local economies of scale and more effective targeting of fuel poverty need. The report advocates that 70% of spending on low-income households would be spent on efficiency improvements for the fuel-poor compared with 20% at the moment. It estimates that

197,000 households in fuel poverty could receive efficiency improvements every year under the proposals, 117,000 more than under the current ECO model. The Labour Party is launching its Energy Green Paper today (Friday) which will pull together its recent individual proposals into a ten point plan. BBC News are reporting speculation that the Energy Secretary has written to the top six energy providers asking them to freeze prices until after the 2015 general election. Boris Johnson has announced the new draft London Housing Strategy for consultation. It proposes building 9,000 homes for affordable rent in London each year between 2015 and 2018, of which half would be capped for people in low income employment. Overall, the strategy proposes building 42,000 homes per year for the next decade in the capital. The closing date for responses to the consultation is 17 February 2014. The Empty Homes campaign has commissioned research from the University of Sheffield to explore ways of bringing empty homes in England back into use. The report recommends a return to homesteading, where empty homes are sold to people at a heavy discount on condition they renovate them as their own home. Stoke City Council has recently piloted the concept. Latest figures from the Land Registry, based on actual sales, put the average house price for October at 165,515, an annual increase of 3.1%. Meanwhile, the Nationwide puts the average price at 174,566, based on mortgage approvals, an increase of 6.5% over the last 12 months. The Help to Buy scheme for new build houses will be launched in Wales on 2 January. 90 major charities and businesses have called on the Chancellor to keep green levies, amid speculation that the Government is thinking of cutting back the Energy Companies Obligation, used to help households make their homes more energy efficient. They argue that cutting energy efficiency measures could increase fuel poverty. Living with New Welfare - Radio 4 looks into personal stories behind the direct payments pilot.

An Ageing Society
The Department of Health has today (Friday) launched a state of the nation report on dementia care in England and an interactive online map, which shows the quality of dementia care in local areas based on a range of measures for community care, hospital care and the future of care. The report reveals that dementia costs society an estimated 19 billion a year. In 2012/13, 48% of the estimated number of people with dementia in England received a formal diagnosis or had contact with specialist dementia services, up slightly from 46% in 2011/12. In some parts of the country, this figure was 75%, while in the worst performing areas, it drops to 39%. Homes for Older Londoners, a new report from the London Assembly Housing Committee, is calling for more specially designed retirement housing to be built in London. There are currently around 60,000 specialist housing spaces in the capital for older people and another 80,000 could be needed over the next thirty years. The report recommends better planning to address the growing demand for specialist housing, using more alternative ownership models, such as co-operative housing and co-housing and the use of use of GLA land for retirement communities.

The Nuffield Trust has published a report Caring for an ageing population: points to consider from reform in Japan which examines how Japan implemented a compulsory insurance scheme for over 40s in 2000 to pay for long term care. Social care is available to them after the age of 65 on a needs basis. Those who use services make co-payments of up to 10% of the costs of care. Japan has the oldest population in the world with 23% of its population aged over 65, and is expected to rise to 40% by 2050. The International Longevity Centre has announced a new series of six seminars running between November 2013 and October 2014, which will focus on the impact of demographic change on public policy. Topics include the future of the census; how reliable are forecasts of numbers of the oldest old?; the demographic implications of Scottish independence; latest evidence about the ageing society; the impact of declining average household size ; Europes changing demography. The ILC is also calling for a cross party commission on demographic change. Memory First, an integrated dementia service in Staffordshire, Greenwich Advanced Dementia Service and Worcestershires Early Intervention Dementia services have all been awarded the NHS Innovation Challenge Price for Dementia. Short films from patients and carers on the services can be seen here. The NHS has launched an appeal for 100,000 volunteers to check regularly on elderly neighbours in the winter. The OECD Pensions at a Glance 2013 report has warned that youth unemployment will lead to very low retirement incomes, because young people may be unable to contribute to pension funds for long periods, especially in the case of the new private pension schemes which are based on monthly contributions. A recent Saga survey found that 31% of over 50s expect to delay their retirement date, compared with 27% in last years survey. The biggest increase has been in women, with 16% more saying they plan to work for longer. The charity Silver Line helpline launched nationally on Monday, a free confidential helpline for older people open 24/7 to offer advice and help relieve loneliness. The service aims to provide information and advice including linking people to groups and networks in their area, acting on reported abuse and neglect and offering regular befriending calls. Statistics from HMRC show that 48% of private companies which provide care for older people have been paying workers less than the minimum wage - the arrears total 338,835 in backpay involving 2,443 workers. HMRCs two year investigation was prompted by warnings that persistent low pay will lead to poor care. Winter deaths in 2012/13 showed a sharp increase of 29% compared with the previous year, according to new figures from the Office for National Statistics. Cases of hypothermia increased by 25% in 2012/13 compared with the previous 12 months.

Other
Scotlands First Minister Alex Salmon this week presented the Scottish Governments white paper outlining how an independent Scotland would operate. Key points: the bound would be retained; the bedroom tax and universal credit would be halted; the minimum wage would be increased in line with inflation; all 3 and 4 year-olds and vulnerable 2-year-olds to be entitled to 1,140 hours of free childcare a year and one year olds and over receive free childcare by 2024. Read the White Paper at a glance or the White Paper in full.

This Information Bulletin is produced on a weekly basis as an update for staff at the Joseph Rowntree Foundation (JRF) and the Joseph Rowntree Housing Trust (JRHT) for the purposes of their work it is not intended to be comprehensive but represents a selection of news and reports appearing in the last week. The items contained in this Bulletin are for information only and do not necessarily reflect the views of the JRF and JRHT.