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Hard times for those on low incomes

28 Jan 2021

As the longest January ever finally draws to a close we look forward to a more positive 2021, there is light at the end of this tunnel and it’s getting closer all the time. If you have an idea for how we can make the year even brighter, just a reminder that our next deadline for grant applications is 4 February 2021.

Unfortunately we’re not out of the woods yet, and better times are possibly a long way off as far as the economy is concerned. Three major reports out this month find many on low-to-middle incomes are really struggling:

Nearly 4m people excluded from government's income replacement schemes

Early analysis from our coronavirus financial impact series found as many as 3.8m adults in Britain (7 per cent) have lost earnings as a direct result of the pandemic and have not been either furloughed or able to get help from the Self-Employment Income Support Scheme (SEISS). Nor are they claiming Universal Credit (UC).

Of these excluded people, 1.8 million have lost a third or more of their total household income. Nearly two-thirds are struggling to pay bills and nearly half have used their savings to help them make ends meet. Unsurprisingly, three-quarters say they feel anxious about their financial situation.

You may have seen the report covered by the BBC on Wednesday, it was featured across the news programmes as part of a day of special reports on those who have been excluded. The full report is out next month, but the data on those excluded is online now. Our CEO, Mubin Haq, looks at solutions.

Low paid more than twice as likely to have lost their jobs during the pandemic

New analysis by the Institute for Employment Studies (funded by SLF) found that low paid workers are more than twice as likely to have lost their jobs during the pandemic and are at far greater risk of being temporarily laid off or having their hours cut. The report outlines a number of recommendations to improve employment outcomes.

Read more

Eight times as many mothers on the lowest incomes believe they are at risk of losing their job due to school closures in the UK

New data analysis published earlier this month showed the pressures facing families over school closures and managing paid work. The analysis (funded by SLF) fromWomen’s Budget GroupFawcett SocietyWomen’s Budget Group Northern IrelandWomen's Equality Network WalesClose the Gap and Engender shows parents on lower incomes are reporting significant financial implications as a result of school closures. Nine times more parents on the lowest incomes (annual household income of £20,000 or below) believe they are at risk of losing their job compared to higher-income parents (annual household income of £40,000 and above).

Read more

Pay ratios

For the first time, in 2020 all quoted public companies with more than 250 UK employees had to provide pay ratios between their highest earner and pay at the 25th, 50th and 75th percentile of their UK workforce. This measure was brought in by the Conservative government with the aim of providing greater transparency on pay.

The High Pay Centre published a report last month which analyses these new pay ratio disclosures. It found that FTSE 100 companies bosses earn 73 times more than the average earner. The report made a number of recommendations on how companies reported on pay ratios and how they might rethink salaries and rewards for those on lower incomes. Read more here.

Find out more about what we fund

You might be surprised by the variety of topics we fund at the Foundation. Take a look at our Funded Projects page to see what we have coming up in 2021.

Application Deadline

Our next deadline for grant applications is 4 February 2021 (1pm) and we expect to make over £2m in grants this year. Have a read of our Funding Guidelines to see if your idea might be something we would fund.