Blog & Articles

Why the Lib Dems' £12,500 tax allowance promise is a smaller pledge than it sounds

Date: 11. March 2014
Gavin Kelly

Inflation alone will ensure that the allowance rises to over £11.3k and minimum wage workers will still be paying tax. Since the weekend, when the Lib Dem faithful gathered in York for their spring conference, quite a few column inches have been filled with frothy speculation about Nick Clegg’s likely longevity as Liberal Democrat leader. Nothing, however, has been written about the new twist he gave their proposed tax policy 

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Shared ownership: a role for funders?

Date: 7. March 2014
Vidhya Alakeson

In a country in which home ownership dominates aspiration and offers families the greatest security, getting a foot on the ladder is a social issue.

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SeaTac: the small US town that sparked a new movement against low wages

Date: 23. February 2014
Gavin Kelly

Chronic low pay is emerging as a crucial political issue in the United States as middle and lower-income workers struggle while executive pay soars. The town of SeaTac is at the centre of the storm after the local council set a minimum wage of $15 an hour. Many cities are now following suit

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Without sustained improvement in wages, the recovery may yet run out of road

Date: 19. February 2014
Matthew Whittaker

While the latest set of labour market statistics which came out this morning suggested a slowdown in the rate of improvement, they don’t disguise what continues to be a very strong period for UK employment. The number of people in work passed its pre-recession peak of 29.6 million in the summer of 2012; since then records have tumbled on a regular basis, with the total standing some 560,000 higher in the three months ending December 2013. Yet, beneath this incontrovertibly good news there is much to make us pause for reflection.

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It's too early to be pessimistic about boosting living standards

Date: 11. February 2014
Gavin Kelly

 Things are likely to stop getting worse sometime soon, progress will then be painfully slow, and it’s going to be an awful long time before they get back to where they were before the crash. 

That’s the gist of a major new report on living standards by the Resolution Foundation, which will show that typical household incomes are set to start growing in 2015 and then creep upwards thereafter. But by 2018 they are still likely to be 3.5 per cent below their pre-crisis peak (5 per cent below if we exclude pensioners households).

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These wage stats don't tell us much about living standards

Date: 24. January 2014
James Plunkett

This morning the government released some interesting new stats on wages. It claims that 90 per cent of people saw their earnings rise in the year to April 2013. As I tweeted earlier this week, the data source that the government are using tells a more positive story about wages than the more regular earnings data that drives most public debate. Here are some quick thoughts on the more technical upsides and downsides of the new numbers.

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Careers and carers: would some stay-at-home mums prefer to work?

Date: 24. January 2014
Vidhya Alakeson

Camilla is 31. She has two children under five. She currently works five hours a week but she would prefer to work 16 hours. Like her, Rachel also has two children under five. She's a stay at home mum but she would prefer to work full time. But for both Camilla and Rachel, childcare is too expensive for them to work as many hours as they would like.

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The robots are coming. Will they bring wealth or a divided society?

Date: 6. January 2014
Gavin Kelly

Whether it's our humdrum reliance on supermarket self-service tills, Siri on our iPhones, the emergence of the drone as a weapon of choice or the impending arrival of the driverless car, intelligent machines are woven into our lives as never before. 

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Stealth cuts to universal credit will hit the working poor

Date: 13. December 2013
Gavin Kelly

Few things in politics are certain, but certain policy announcements elicit a predictable media response. Tinker with the tax treatment of the elderly and prepare to be accused of imposing a "granny tax". Or, more hopefully for the coalition, increase the generosity of the personal tax allowance and read about "tax cuts for low earners".

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