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What the minimum income standard tells us about living standards in the United Kingdom

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posted on 26.09.2017 by Abigail Davis, Matt Padley
The Minimum Income Standard (MIS) research gives an insight into living standards in the United Kingdom, and provides a way of tracking the adequacy of incomes over time. As such it offers useful context for discus-sions of inequality. At the core of the research are deliberative groups held with members of the public who identify and discuss the goods and services that are considered necessary for a living standard that provides a socially acceptable minimum. Groups decide not only what is enough to maintain health and well-being, but also what is needed for social inclusion. This chap-ter begins with an outline of MIS before exploring what the qualitative data from the research tell us about how people conceptualise socially acceptable living standards. These data also reveal how particular items, opportunities and choices are considered important in enabling individuals to feel socially included and how that has changed over time. The chapter then looks at how this living standard relates to UK household incomes and at the adequacy of income relative to MIS, in the years following the recession. We identify the groups at greatest risk of having inadequate incomes and explore how this risk has changed during a period in which there has been a sustained decline in living standards. In combining qualitative and quantitative findings from a decade of research, this chapter provides rich insight into living standards and their relation to income within the United Kingdom.



  • Social Sciences


  • Communication, Media, Social and Policy Studies

Published in

Inequalities in the UK: New Discourses, Evolutions and Actions


85 - 101


DAVIS, A. and PADLEY, M., 2017. What the minimum income standard tells us about living standards in the United Kingdom. IN: Fee, D. and Kober-Smith, A. (eds.) Inequalities in the UK: New Discourses, Evolutions and Actions, Bingley: Emerald, pp. 101-117.


Emerald Publishing Ltd


AM (Accepted Manuscript)

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This book chapter was published in the book Inequalities in the UK and the definitive published version is available at