What should the state do? That's the question we asked at our Shrinking Pains event on Tuesday morning... Below we select seven charts that show where we are - and where we're heading.
As another report from the Sutton Trust exposes the impact of socioeconomic disadvantage on children's educational attainment, is it any wonder that young people today are struggling?
Women work as hard as men in the workplace and deserve the same recognition for it. They should not be sent a message that their labour is undervalued or worth less than their male counterparts - because it is not - and our pay gap pledge is that we will not give up the fight until this is reflected in pay packets across the country.
The Housing and Planning Bill making its way through parliament has the clear ambition of increasing the supply of homes in our country. However to meet rising demand, and the government's necessarily ambitious housing targets, we are going to have to be even more radical...
Living Wage Week is a time to take stock of the low pay challenge that confronts a growing number of working people in the UK - and think about what more can be done to tackle it. Despite the many living wage victories, the outlook is bleak.... Against this backdrop, we should see George Osborne's 'national living wage' for what it is - an enhanced minimum wage. And while it would be churlish to deny that it will do some good (it was after all a policy that was swiped straight out of Labour's 2015 manifesto), we need to recognise three big flaws in the government's way of going about things that reveal the weakness of its approach to tackling lowpay.
Productivity improvements are crucial to the UK's economic competitiveness and to improving workers' living standards. As Paul Krugman, the Nobel prize-winning economist, says: "Productivity isn't everything, but in the long run it is almost everything."
This last year there has been much to celebrate, such as the government's partial conversion to the cause and the breakthrough for the Living Wage in parts of the retail sector. The fight is far from over, our objective has not been reached. Many employers, earning big profits, continue to refuse to share fair rewards with their employees, and the smoke and mirrors of the government's phoney Living Wage, only makes it easier for them to hide.
The Chancellor's flawed and ill-thought out cuts to tax credits were put on ice by the House of Lords this week. Now he has to bring new proposals forward. There are 3.3million families, 5,300 of them in my constituency, worrying about what he will do.
So my plea to George Osborne is this: Come 25 November, remember that social care cannot be robbed to pay for the NHS, or indeed any other vital public service. It is a vital public service in its own right, and deserves a funding settlement befitting of its importance, the huge and growing need for its services, and the fact that, if we pride ourselves as a country that cares about the most vulnerable in society, social care IS the foundation of that principle. Remove the foundations and everything crumbles.
We often hear the government talking about for incentives for people to work, that work should pay. This proposal seemed to me and others to be a punishment on those honest families who are doing their very best to provide for their families...
A couple of weeks in, and the similarities between the Leave and Remain camps are as as striking as the differences. Both are quick to underline their patriotism; both go out of their way to emphasise British strength. No one, not even in the 'remain' camp, seems particularly fond of the European Union. And - perhaps most importantly - both campaigns are profoundly divided.
In June the government announced a £200million pound cut to the health budget. The cuts were apparently based on projected local authority underspends, so they were not supposed to affect frontline services...
When it comes to this April's tax credit cuts we're now swiftly approaching the point where everyone accepts there is a problem, and starts to ask the real question - what is the solution?
There is a huge amount that a pioneering yet delivery-focussed Mayor could do to improve the supply of affordable housing, spread the living wage, and improve the transition from school to college to work. Sadiq and Zac, over to you.
There may well be more choice for big retailers to open for longer, but at what cost? My local independent retailers on the high streets do not want any change and fear that extending hours for the big retailers will be a threat and will diminish the different character of Sundays. It's not too late for the Government to think again and listen to the public, the high streets businesses, workers and its own family test.
The Lib Dems warned about the £12billion of welfare saving and the impact on communities. But in the heat of an election people get tired of claim and counterclaim and people thought: 'I've heard the PM rule it out'. Their tax credits were safe. But yet again, the PR man put some spin on a story. Now working people are set to lose out.