New EHRC Report: The cumulative impact on living standards of public spending changes

Posted On: 
28th November 2018

EHRC have launched a new report today on the cumulative impact on living standards of public spending changes.

‘The cumulative impact on living standards of public spending changes’ is authored by Howard Reed and Jonathan Portes. It accompanies our earlier report The cumulative impact of tax and welfare reforms’ published in March this year.

The report shows the projected impact of changes in public spending policy on various groups sharing characteristics protected under the Equality Act in England, Scotland and Wales, up to the tax year 2021/22. It focuses on public spending across a number of services - police, transport, housing, health, education and social services.

We found that changes in public spending since 2010 will have a disproportionately negative impact on lone parents (predominantly women), young adults, severely disabled people and certain ethnic groups.

Overall, spending on public services per head of population up to 2021/22 is forecast to fall by around 18% in England, 5.5% in Wales and just over 1% in Scotland. This is due to several factors: faster population growth in England compared with Scotland and Wales; different Scottish and Welsh Government spending priorities; and more generous funding in Scotland due to Scotland-specific income tax rises

The impact of changes to public spending across income decile shows a significantly different picture in each country (see diagram below), and is particularly regressive in England with poorer households projected to lose around £2,200, compared with the richest, which will lose £900.

The report makes a number of recommendations for action by UK, Scottish and Welsh Governments to better understand and address the negative impacts on poorer households and some protected groups.  In particular, we recommend that the UK Government’s 2019 Spending Review should be accompanied by an equality impact assessment which incorporates a cumulative analysis.