Commission on Living Standards

Resolution Foundation

Gaining from Growth

The final report of the Commission on Living Standards

Millions of households are heading for a long period of stagnant living standards unless bold steps are taken to ensure that growth over the next decade is broadly shared. Even with a return to steady growth, it’s now entirely possible living standards for a large swath of low and middle households will be no higher by 2020 than they were in 2000. Yet actions can be taken to alter this course.

Read more and download

Who gains from growth? Living Standards to 2020

Living standards for Britain’s low and middle income households will be lower in 2020 than they were a decade earlier even if growth returns. Households in this group are set for income falls of between 3 and 15 percent from 2008 to 2020.

by the Institute for Employment Research and the Institute for Fiscal Studies, September 2012


What a drag: The chilling impact of unemployment on real wages

Real wage growth in the UK labour market, since around 2003, has slowed down and stagnated. This report documents the nature of real wage changes across the wage distribution over the last three decades.

by Paul Gregg and Stephen Machin, September 2012


Unfinished Business: Barriers and opportunities for older workers

The UK could miss a historic opportunity to boost employment among the over 50s. This new analysis finds that the UK ranks 15th out of 34 OECD countries, for older workers, lagging the five top countries by over fifteen percentage points. Closing this gap would mean around 1.5 million more people in work.

by Giselle Cory, August 2012


Fairer by design: efficient tax reform for those on low to middle incomes

Paul Johnson, Director of the IFS, looks at tax reform in his report to the Commission on Living Standards. He examines how the current system of redistribution through taxation and welfare could be reformed to give more support to those on low and middle incomes whilst reducing economic costs

by Paul Johnson, July 2012



Up-skilling the middle

Professor Anna Vignoles looks at skills policy in her report to the Commission on Living Standards. She examines what skills policy can do to help those on low to middle incomes boost their earnings potential.

by Professor Anna Vignoles, July 2012


Inequality, debt and growth

Inequality, debt and growth shows that low to middle income households were reliant on borrowing to fund much of their spending for more than a decade before the financial crisis. The report reveals the full extent of the increase in borrowing and deterioration in household savings rates in the run up to the 2008/09 crisis, with the poorest 10% outspending their income by 40% by 2007. Given only a minority of the poorest are homeowners paying off their mortgage, it is highly unlikely this was counterbalanced by an increase in housing wealth.

by Paolo Lucchino and Salvatore Morelli, May 2012


Minimum Wage: Maximum Impact

Professor Alan Manning,  Head of Economics at the LSE, steps back from the current annual debate about the appropriate but small rise in the value of the minimum wage to ask a bolder question: are there more radical reforms of the minimum wage that could raise living standards in the years ahead?

by Professor Alan Manning, April 2012


No snakes, but no ladders: Young people, employment, and the low skills trap at the bottom of the contemporary service economy

In recent years, research and policy activity has primarily been concerned with the numbers, experiences and trajectories of apprentices and university students, or with the lives of ‘spectacular’, more obviously economically marginalised groups of young people who are entrenched in issues of social exclusion and deprivation.

by Steven Roberts,  March 2012