Blog & Articles

We need to solve the mortgage problem before interest rates rise

Date: 23. May 2014
Matthew Whittaker

The question of when interest rates should begin to rise has been much-discussed in recent weeks, and after five years of sitting at the rock-bottom level of 0.5 per cent, a gradual increase is expected from next year onwards. 

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The ‘mortgage prisoners’ with no escape route

Date: 22. May 2014
Matthew Whittaker

Mark Carney, the governor of the Bank of England, has made headlines after expressing concerns about the dangers of another “big debt overhang” building up as house prices continue to rise and approvals for large mortgages increase.

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Seattle, Stuttgart, Switzerland – welcome to the new era of minimum wage radicalism

Date: 16. May 2014
Gavin Kelly

Lift your gaze from the humdrum debate on living standards in the UK and look overseas: something seems to be stirring on the politics of low pay. On Sunday, the Swiss vote on whether to introduce a wage floor of an almighty 22 francs (£14.90) per hour – by some way the highest in the world.

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Laura Gardiner interview on self-employment

Date: 15. May 2014
Laura Gardiner

The growth of self-employment has become one of the stories of the recovery. While the number of employees has only recently regained its pre-recession level, the number of people who are self-employed has grown by 650,000 since 2008 to reach 4.5 million, or nearly 15 per cent of all employment. We set out to understand what’s been driving this growth, and what life is like as a self-employed person.

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The UK’s surge in self-employment brings with it increased financial insecurity

Date: 8. May 2014
Conor D'Arcy

One in seven workers in the UK are now self-employed with more than 650,000 starting out on their own since the recession. While some have argued that many work for themselves more out of necessity than choice, a recent survey for the Resolution Foundation confirmed that the overwhelming majority of the UK’s 4.5 million self-employed prefer being their own boss.

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The risks and rewards of being self-employed

Date: 7. May 2014
Laura Gardiner

Since the recession, the Yorkshire and Humber region has added 14,000 employees but an extra 22,000 self-employed people. It looks as if higher levels of self-employment are here to stay but our research suggests that while most of the self-employed prefer being their own boss, they often struggle with accessing basics such as housing and credit.

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Looking past the headlines on zero-hours contracts

Date: 30. April 2014
Laura Gardiner

Today’s new figures from the ONS shed further light on recent lively debate on zero-hours contracts (ZHCs). Sort of. Back in 2012, around the time that the zero-hours debate began to capture the attention of politicians and commentators, it was reported that there were around a quarter of a million workers on a ZHC in the UK, although many thought this sounded low.

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Mobility and the squeezed middle

Date: 22. April 2014
Craig Holmes

A common criticism of the recent concern over rising inequality is that it looks at the distribution of earnings and wealth at one point in time. Individuals are mobile and tend, on balance, to find better paying jobs over the course of their lifetime, which might mean that looking at their wages at any one point overstates the differences in standards of living taken from a whole life perspective.

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Turning the corner: understanding this week’s wage data

Date: 14. April 2014
Matthew Whittaker

After nearly six years in which wage growth has been consistently outstripped by inflation, expectation is building that this week will mark an official end to the pay squeeze. When the February 2014 data is released later this week, inflation is expected to fall further below its 2 per cent target while nominal wage growth continues its gradual improvement, meaning the two lines may finally cross over.

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