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Young Foundation

Country: United Kingdom
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19 Projects, page 1 of 4
  • Funder: UKRI Project Code: ES/R00031X/1
    Funder Contribution: 188,433 GBP
    Partners: Young Foundation

    This research looks to understand how small industrial towns in the UK, and in other countries such as Finland and the Netherlands, have successfully built a degree of sustainability that is not yet well understood. We hope that this will challenge current dominant models or understandings of 'industrial and post-industrial decline'. One quarter of people living in Europe live in small industrial towns, yet there is very little evidence or policy development that specifically deals with them. Often they are characterised as being in post-industrial decline or with population shrinkage. This prevailing narrative also influences the policy development which affects them or the re-development strategies they undergo or are presented with, which tend to focus on promoting the service industry or creating regional hubs and which overlook the industrial nature and assets of towns. Recently it has become clear, especially through the latest global economic crisis, that this understanding of industrial towns as declining or deprived is limited. In particular, it overlooks what we believe is likely to be the importance of locality, and cultural and social relationships which exist in small industrial towns. It is not well understood why some towns buck the trends of decline or shrinkage and there are particular cases where towns form part of successful 'development corridors'. These have not been studied previously at this scale. This project argues that industrial towns are not inevitably associated with post-industrial shrinkage and that we need to understand the complex relationships between different aspects of their growth and development. We think that small industrial towns will be characterised by a range of factors that are as much social and cultural as they are economic. For example, overlooked areas and attributes which are likely to sustain town development include local industrial traditions and social relationships, and specific histories of development and growth. Size is also likely to be important to maintaining personal networks of cooperation and potentially underlying sustainability. We also think that towns will have different types of attributes that are often overlooked in policy terms but which would help us understand them better: socio-cultural, personal relationships, history and culture, as well as the ways people work and cooperate together. Our evidence collection will focus on different ways to find out about and understand these characteristics, one important aspect of which is locals' own narratives and understandings of what makes each town sustainable. We also plan to explore how these traditions, cultural relationships and ways of working might help them develop further as social innovations. Social innovation deals with the idea that we can find solutions to entrenched problems in ways which benefit society. We believe that if we apply the lens of social innovation to these places we would be able to view them in a new way which would have impact on policy and public services, because it would offer an alternative approach to development and ways of working in each town. This approach is likely to help create a pathway for 'bright futures' which build on these strengths. The project consortium is composed of a range of country partners carefully chosen for their regional diversification and coverage across different European development areas. This will enable the project team to make comparisons across different types of small industrial towns in difference places and contexts. From this, we will develop recommendations and guidance for understanding and working with particular types of small industrial towns in the future.

  • Project . 2010 - 2011
    Funder: UKRI Project Code: RES-193-25-0001
    Funder Contribution: 88,166 GBP
    Partners: Young Foundation

    Abstracts are not currently available in GtR for all funded research. This is normally because the abstract was not required at the time of proposal submission, but may be because it included sensitive information such as personal details.

  • Funder: UKRI Project Code: ES/M007219/1
    Funder Contribution: 123,247 GBP
    Partners: Young Foundation

    This research will develop a 'borrowers-eye-view' of the different competing offers of payday loans and alternative forms of credit. We will conduct in-depth interviews with low income borrowers to evaluate how the experience of taking out a payday loan compares to alternative forms of credit. We will then carry out a series of participative workshops to co-design with low income borrowers an alternative credit offer that would meet borrowers' demands while offering less harmful financial terms. The research will conclude with publications for both academic and non-academic audiences and a series of dissemination events to share findings with policymakers and delivery organisations. The research has been designed to support the Welsh government's objective of mitigating the effects of poverty and, in particular, its goal of increasing the use of credit unions as an alternative to more harmful forms of short-term credit. The work starts from the premise that product design-and the design of the broader alternative credit offer (from how it is delivered to how it is perceived in the local community)-will be decisive to the success or failure of this strategy. Getting product design right will require a richer and more detailed understanding of the user-experience of different forms of credit than we have today. It will also require greater involvement from borrowers in describing what would work as a genuine alternative to payday loans. The wider context for the work is the risk that, for a large swathe of the Welsh population on low incomes, the economic recovery could be marred by an historic overhang of debt. Overall UK consumer debt trebled in value from 1993 to 2013 reaching £158 billion, leaving many in poverty to face high debt repayments and chronic uncertainty as interest rates now start to rise. Nowhere are these risks sharper than in the case of payday loans. The UK payday loan industry, covering short-term and high interest rate debts, grew from £100 million to £1.7 billion in the seven years from 2004. The Public Accounts Committee estimates that there are now around 2 million payday loan customers in the UK. This staggering rise of extremely high-interest-rate debt threatens to shape the way many in poverty experience the economic recovery, reducing household spending power, increasing insecurity, and derailing anti-poverty strategies. There is already growing evidence of the personal costs of short-term credit. The debt charity StepChange has recorded a 44 per cent increase in Wales in the number of people calling their helpline for advice since 2010. The Citizens Advice Bureau in Wales reported in May 2013 that the number of people seeking help to deal with debts emerging from use of payday loans rose from 93 to 609 in just one year, a rise of 555%. Levels of debt are increasing. In Cardiff, the average payday lending balance rose 42% in just one year from 2011 to 2012. A similar picture is portrayed by StepChange analysis of its clients in Wales, with 18% reporting struggling with a payday loan in 2013 compared to 2.6% in 2010. This research will support policymakers in a strategy of encouraging alternative forms of credit, giving the richest and most detailed evaluation to date of different credit offers from a borrowers-eye-view, and working with low income borrowers themselves to sketch out what would work as a viable alternative.

  • Funder: UKRI Project Code: ES/N011929/1
    Funder Contribution: 157,880 GBP
    Partners: University of Sussex, Young Foundation

    According to the London Futures Deloitte report (Frey and Osborne, 2014), 35 per cent of the current workforce in the UK is at risk of being made redundant over the next two decades as a result of the introduction of digital robots that will replace their tasks. For those that manage to remain employed, it is difficult to predict whether and how they are able to adapt their skills to the changing demand for occupational tasks. One emerging trend is that, after the introduction of new digital capital, firms dismiss large shares of medium-skilled workers, while seeking either low skilled workers to perform highly routinised tasks, or very high skilled people who provide creative ideas and apply sophisticated knowledge to maximise the benefits of digital capital. The polarisation of demand for tasks and the skills required to perform them is likely to be reflected in a similar polarisation of wages. This will depend on how firms decide to increase digital mechanisation, for instance what type of hardware and software services they purchase, and what types of new occupations this new capital requires. Also, as pointed out by Piketty (2014), rising share of capital in production goes hand in hand with decreasing share of labour, favouring top income concentration. Overall, innovative firms might be responsible for increasing income inequality, both through higher concentration of capital returns in the hands of a few creative CEOs and a higher proportion of the wage bill going to a proportionally smaller share of very high-skilled workers. This research aims to provide comparative evidence on the core mechanisms behind the effects of technical change on income inequality, by looking at the actors directly involved in their occurrence: firms investing in tangible, digital capital and R&D, and households providing skilled and unskilled workforce respectively employed in un-routinised and routinised tasks, and the associated distribution of wage and non-wage income. The novel contribution of this research compared to the extant literature is in the following aspects. First, we will uniquely combine, at the spatial level, plant-level data on tangible, digital and R&D investments of firms located in a certain area, defined as Travel-To-Work-Area (TTWA) and data on occupational categories, wage and non-wage earnings of household living in the same TTWA. TTWAs are defined by the Office for National Statistics as self-contained local labour markets. Second, we will study how technical change, through creative destruction, changes top income shares, wage distribution, and capital income distribution, at the level of TTWA. Third, we will analyse the temporal and spatial associations between the level and composition of investments in tangible, digital capital and R&D in firms and (i) changes in individual's occupational choice across job categories, and (ii) changes in wages at different quantiles of the wage distribution. This research adds to a debate on pressing social and policy issues: income inequality and unemployment. It is therefore particularly relevant not only for the academic community, but also for policy makers, innovative employers, public, social and private enterprises, trade unions, training institutions and young and old members of the workforce that seek and use information on employment and investment decisions. Our dissemination plan ensures that the findings of our research reach all the above stakeholders to inform their decision-making processes.

  • Funder: UKRI Project Code: ES/T002611/1
    Funder Contribution: 53,434,500 GBP
    Partners: IFS, University of Essex, Competition and Markets Authority, Young Foundation, The Financial Conduct Authority

    Understanding Society: the UK Household Longitudinal Study is the largest household panel study in the world, designed to address key scientific and policy questions of the 21st century. It collects high quality annual longitudinal data on individuals of all ages in households which are representative of the UK population. The Study's data enable researchers to explore the experiences, causes and consequences of changes in people's lives - their family structure, health, income, expenditure, employment and housing. The Study has additional dimensions that enable the detailed exploration of the circumstances of key immigrant and ethnic minority groups; investigation of inter-relations between different family members within and across households and generations; and, it collects direct measures of health and genetics to understand how people's health and wider circumstances interact. It is underpinned by robust and innovative methods, and our methodological research creates learning for other studies nationally and internationally. The Study began in 2008 with the Innovation Panel (IP), which tests methods, and the first main wave of fieldwork started in 2009. It builds on and incorporates the British Household Panel Survey, which means for some families we have data from 1991. To date, eight waves of the main Study and ten waves of the IP, as well as data collected from a nurse visit, are deposited at the UK Data Service. Further waves are in planning, in the field or being prepared for data release. This bid covers plans for data collection for Waves 13-15 and IP15-17 a boost sample to increase the size of the Study, and a range of enhancements. Our long term vision for the Study is for it to be based on integrating the best of all kinds of data on a Longitudinal Core, whilst creating novel research opportunities with new data enhancements. Our plans include more timely data collection of key life changes, such as job loss; a pregnancy study; a repeat collection of biological data. We are investigating ways to enhance our content by collecting data with new technologies. We are also planning to expand the Study to engage with key family members who live outside the household, for example, co-parents in separated families and transnational families. We also plan to broaden the range of data we harvest from external sources, as well as individual administrative records, we are investigating how we can obtain contextual data on organisations, such as employers, and places. As in previous bids, we are proposing advertising a number of fellowships competitions to build capacity in the wider research community to use the unique features of the data. Supporting researchers in universities, government, third sector and businesses to use the data effectively is fundamental to the success of the Study. We provide a wide range of resources, services and support to enable users with different backgrounds and from different kinds of organisations to make effective use of the data. We propose enhancing this further by adding a 'data gateway' to our website so users can select the data they need through a shopping basket system. We have a Policy Unit that works directly with government departments and third sector organisations to help them use Understanding Society data, and we undertake a wide range of activities to promote findings based on the Study to policy users. In this phase the Policy Unit will develop partnerships with different organisations to facilitate policy communities learning from high quality research based on the Study. We plan to continue to promote research from the Study widely through events, publications, briefings, on our website and through social media. Taken together, we firmly believe that the continued collection of data on a longitudinal core and the new data enhancements proposed will significantly increase the high quality impactful research based on the Study and hence its value to society.