New Policy Institute

New Policy Institute produces evidence-based research on a range of social and economic issues, the main areas of which fall within four key research areas: poverty, social security, housing, and economics. They are looked at individually, as well as by the links between them.


Our work on poverty, both nationally and regionally, and its links with social exclusion, goes back more than fifteen years.  At the heart of the work is the view that, in a market economy such as ours, income matters, so households with low incomes face a range of disadvantages.

Social Security

Since 2011 the social security system in the UK has undergone a series of changes, including the biggest change – the introduction of Universal Credit. Social security has been a target of reformers almost since its inception, with benefits introduced, removed, expanded and reduced on an almost annual basis.

Our work on social security seeks to put these new changes into their historical context and asks questions about both their aims and their effectiveness.


The cost, quality and suitability of housing is a key issue in the 21st century. Our work for the Trust for London has shown how housing is key to understanding the levels of poverty and inequality in the capital. Our poverty monitoring reports have shown how the rising number of people in the private rented accommodation has been accompanied by rising poverty in that sector.

Our interest in housing goes beyond the links with poverty. We have carried out extensive research into the supply, demand and choices in retirement housing. This is a sector that sits outside the housing market as it is usually understood, but is relied upon by a growing number of people. Our role in the research was to illuminate the complexities in the system and show the flaws in the existing incentives to save.


NPI’s approach to analysis always begins with the data and the macro economy is one area with a wealth of data, not all of it understood. While our studies of poverty, housing and social security lend themselves to focusing on specific policies and solutions, looking at the macro economy allows us to step back and look at the assumptions that underpin the very areas we study.


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Recent Reports

By Peter Kenway; Josh Holden

This report from the UK think tank New Policy Institute builds an argument for a sustained increase in local government…

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By Carla Ayrton; Peter Kenway; Josh Holden

This report from the UK think New Policy Institute examines the very varied provision of council tax support (CTS), discretionary…

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By Carla Ayrton; Josh Holden; Peter Kenway; Adam Tinson

This is a report about Birmingham and the Black Country – the local authority areas of Dudley, Sandwell, Walsall and…

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By Peter Kenway; Carla Ayrton

Neighbourhood services have been cut on average by 17% since 2010/11, though the variation between councils is substantial. This report…

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By Adam Tinson; Carla Ayrton; Issy Petrie

This report analyses changes in local authority spending on services relating to disadvantage in England between 2011/12 and 2016/17. The…

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By Peter Kenway; Issy Petrie; Adam Tinson

This report examines in-work poverty in the county of Gwynedd in Wales. The report was commissioned by the council to…

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By Peter Kenway; Issy Petrie

Councils in Northern Ireland are responsible for considerably less public spending than their counterparts in Wales or Scotland: only 4%,…

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By Karen Barker; Carla Ayrton; Issy Petrie; Adam Tinson

This is a qualitative piece of research examining how policy and practice at local authority level contributes to and could…

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