Archive for June 2011

Shop Front

Britain’s Recovery Rests On The Shoulders Of Suburbia

Date: 30. June 2011
James Plunkett and

This blog first appeared in Business Insider

Enfield, North London is trademark British suburbia. Middle-income but with patches of poverty and patches of wealth, the high street is dominated by chain stores and a scattering of chain-owned pubs. On first sight, there are few signs here that the UK is recovering slowly from a deep recession. But look closer and things don’t look so good. The local council is one of many in Britain to adopt the policy of dressing up closed-down storefronts to resemble thriving local stores. With many of the facades now entering their third year, some are faded and peeling. On one, a scribble of graffiti backs the ‘BNP’, a far right fascist party.

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Social Care

The long-term problem for "generation rent"

Date: 20. June 2011
Vidhya Alakeson and

This article first appeared in the New Statesman

We need to stop relying on home-ownership as the only way to build wealth if we're to have an adequate social care system.

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Inflation newspaper

Inflation hits work incentives

Date: 14. June 2011
James Plunkett and

This blog first appeared on Coffeehouse, The Spectator blog

New inflation stats are out tomorrow and they’re expected to show further rises in CPI and RPI. Aside from their brief peak in 2008, headline rates of inflation are now at their highest levels for 19 years. That’s prompting more discussion about the way rising prices are playing out for Britain’s households, from a nice graphic in today’s Times (£) to a new report due out tomorrow from the IFS. But one implication of today’s higher inflation environment is receiving less attention – the impact of rising prices on work incentives.


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On housing, while Ed has got it wrong, Boris has the answer

Date: 13. June 2011
Vidhya Alakeson and

This blog first appeared on Left Foot Forward

In his speech on social responsibility today, Ed Miliband argued that low income working people and those doing voluntary work should be given priority for council housing.

While this might help position his leadership, it is misguided as a piece of housing policy. Shifting ordinary working families into social housing to replace more vulnerable groups does not fix a housing crisis, it simply creates a new one. Local Authorities will find themselves paying higher costs to house vulnerable families and the homeless in the private sector.

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House of Congree

HELP for America's struggling middle class?

Date: 9. June 2011
Sophia Parker and

Last month, Tom Harkin, one of the Democrat giants of the Senate and Chair of the Health, Education, Labor and Pensions (HELP) Committee, convened the first of several meetings to examine why the American Dream appears to be ever harder to reach, even for those who – in Clinton’s words – ‘work hard and play by the rules’. The full footage and transcripts can be read here.

I suspect Sen. Harkin had hoped for a more focused discussion than he got about how to address the crisis of America’s so-called middle class - the stagnating median wages, rising income inequality and declining standards of living that are attracting more and more mainstream attention in US politics.

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Homeownership is history. Housing policy should cash in on the private rented sector, Guardian

Date: 8. June 2011
Vidhya Alakeson

Vidhya Alakeson

Investing publicly-owned land in the development of new rental properties could help solve the affordable housing gap

Karen and Darren are much like other parents in their mid-30s ...

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Food Basket

The growing need for a policy response to the ‘new inflation’

Date: 1. June 2011
James Plunkett and

This blog first appeared on Coffeehouse

There’s been much debate on these pages about the political implications of higher inflation. Ironically, this morning’s news of record food prices could relieve the pressure on the Bank of England Governor. His argument for caution when it comes to a rate rise is based on the claim that UK inflation is now being driven by events beyond the MPC’s control.


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