Has ‘ignorance’ declined in Britain since the Beveridge Report?   Recently updated !

In 1942, the Beveridge Report included ignorance as one of the five “giant evils” in society (along with want, disease, squalor and idleness). Seventy years on, how far have we come in vanquishing the evil of ignorance in Britain? Ignorance is in fact rather difficult to measure directly, so we’ll begin by talking about education. […]

Percentage in full-time education at age 16   1950-2011. Dashed lines represent breaks/ changes in the official data (Data source: Department for Education)

EU Referendum vote intention by age group (Note: these figures predate the referendum announcement and are likely to have changed since)

A generational divide?   Recently updated !

The attitudes and sentiments of young people differ, on average, from those of older people on many different topics.  Younger people tend to be more tolerant of same-sex relationships for example, and less likely to describe themselves as racially prejudiced; they tend to be ‘post-materialist’ rather than ‘materialist’;  they tend to be somewhat less nationalistic, […]


Policy successes and failures in reducing smoking in children

 Smoking has long been a public health priority, and particular efforts have been made to reduce smoking among children. As forty per cent of smokers started smoking before the age of 16, discouraging smoking in children is an obvious target for policy interventions. To this end, over recent years a range of progressive policy measures […]

Child smoking fig 3

What British Muslims really Think

Absent evidence: On ‘What Muslims Really Think’

Absent evidence: On ‘What Muslims Really Think’ Problems among British Muslims have never unnerved me. Some serious concerns do exist and they need resolving, including a significant prison population, high levels of deprivation (50% for Muslim households compared with a national average of 18%, see Fig 1), and low levels of employment, especially among women. […]


Figure 2: Index of nominal private rents in England, 2005 to 2015 Note: Figures expressed as a percentage of costs in January 2011. Source: ONS

Are we facing a crisis in the affordability of private renting?

The growth of the private rental market has invited considerable speculation surrounding its causes and consequences. One key driver is the decreasing affordability of owner occupation, illustrated in Figure 1. In 1977, homes cost on average three times the median household income, but by 2013, homes cost 10.5 times median household incomes, making home ownership […]


Food insecurity: Five good reasons for national level monitoring

Yesterday I attended the meeting “Mapping the way forward on food poverty monitoring”, organised by Sustain alongside partners The Food Foundation, OXFAM, the Food Research Collaboration and Oxford University, and with participants from academia, campaign groups, and the NHS, among others. The day’s main discussion focussed on monitoring food poverty – whether and how we […]


We are smoking less in Britain, but is it all good news?

Smoking trends in Britain over the past 40 years are very encouraging (see Figure 1). In 1974 – the first date this information is available from – nearly half (45 per cent) of adults in Britain reported smoking cigarettes regularly, just over one third (37 per cent) of adults had never smoked, and 16 per […]

Figure 1: Adult smoking in Great Britain between 1974 and 2013 Sources: General Household Survey (1974-2011), Health Survey for England (2008-2013), Welsh Health Survey (2008-2013), Scottish Health Survey (2008-2013)

Fig 1: Validated turnout in the 2010 general election Source: BES 2010 and EMBES 2010

Muslim integration: is there a gap? How do we close it?

Today, the Integration Hub has published a blog post by Anthony Heath on Muslim Integration, and David Goodhart responds. Several aspects of the Integration Debate remain open; even among these experts there is disagreement about the degree to which residential segregation matters, for example. And when it comes to closing “integration gaps” how should policy-makers […]