Salford Social Policy academic says Budget “glaringly fails to address the critical issues”

Categories: School of Health and Society

A Salford academic has criticised the Spring Budget, saying it’s a missed opportunity to provide genuine relief to families facing extreme financial challenges. 

University Fellow James Kaufman is a specialist in social security policy and poverty, and for the last three years has been involved in participatory research projects with parents and carers on low incomes which have helped to shape new policy recommendations. 

Speaking about yesterday’s Budget, he said it failed to address the most pressing issues faced by the poorest sections of society. 

“The 2024 Spring Budget glaringly fails to address the critical issue of escalating hardship among families living on low incomes. Despite the government's promises of supporting families, the budget's approach is detached from the realities of those struggling to meet basic needs in a cost of living crisis.

“As living costs soar, and public services remain underfunded, the budget's focus on tax adjustments and investment incentives ignores an urgent need for targeted support for the most vulnerable, alongside renewed investment in crumbling public services. This is a missed opportunity to provide genuine relief to families facing daily financial challenges. Worryingly, the opposition’s response to this failure is simply to repeat and reinforce misleading narratives about the country’s “credit card” and false characterisations of what it means to be supported by the social security system."

James has been closely involved with the Changing Realities poverty research project, working directly with families and carers across the UK to document their everyday experiences and develop policy recommendations as a result. 

James contributed to a recent state of the nation Report into the UK’s social security system, run by the Institute for Public Policy Research (IPPR). The Report recommended a package of reforms to cut poverty, incentivise work and deliver quick wins to create a modern welfare system. 

Aurora (not her real name) is a participant in the Changing Realities Report. She said: “This budget is focused on middle- to high-income earners. The high-income child benefit charge threshold being raised from £50,000 to £60,000 is welcome, but it is a policy for relatively wealthy families. The offers for lower earners are minimal – the Household Support Fund being extended for six months does not provide stability for the rest of the year. A cut of 2p in national insurance contributions will not help those on a low income who pay less due to tax thresholds. 

“Instead of a cut in taxes, I would much rather see more support provided for public services, on which many people like me and my children are dependent. There needs to be more money to bridge the gap and alleviate poverty.”


Snakes and ladders: Tackling precarity in social security and employment support | IPPR

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