Blog & Articles

Never had it so squeezed

Date: 13. February 2013
Matthew Whittaker

This post orginally appeared on Public Finance

Even in the boom years, a large proportion of the population never shared the proceeds of growth. That’s even less likely today as austerity really hits home

Mired as we are in a fifth year of economic crisis and austerity, it’s easy to forget that not long ago we’d enjoyed fifteen sustained years of economic growth.
But it may not be just the severity of the downturn that explains why the good times feel so distant: for many of us, the growth years were not quite as rewarding as we once thought. Prior to the big squeeze, Britain was increasingly divided, and most of us were on the wrong side of the chasm.

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IFS money

Why Britain's households got richer - and why they stopped

Date: 6. December 2011
Gavin Kelly and

This post first appeared on Gavin Kelly's New Statesman blog.

Before there is any prospect of shaking the economic pessimism that has engulfed the country we need first to alight upon a credible account of how working families will boost their living standards in the years ahead.

At the moment no-one is mapping out this course to a more prosperous future; but more surprising, perhaps, is the fact that we don't really know how it is that households got richer over the recent past.


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Money in hands

Getting the measure of a better capitalism

Date: 12. October 2011
Gavin Kelly and

This post originally appeared on Gavin's New Statesman blog

Today the Institute for Fiscal Studies has launched an Exocet at the Coalition's claims to be a one-nation government taking a lead on poverty reduction. Nearly all measures of poverty are set to rise over the next five to ten years and the Coalition's policies are part of the cause.

But underneath the headlines the IFS analysis serves a less likely purpose. It provides timely grounds for questioning some of the key measures we use to judge progress in our society. In particular, it raises difficult questions about our reliance on a formula that says 'GDP growth plus poverty reduction' is enough.

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child poverty

Child poverty: We need to rethink our 2020 target

Date: 11. October 2011
James Plunkett and

This post originally appeared on the Independent blog

This morning the IFS published its latest projections for poverty. The stats have been widely reported, with most coverage focusing on the ‘unprecedented’ seven percent squeeze on middle incomes. But perhaps the more surprising figures are those for long-term trends in child poverty. On our current path, 800,000 more children will fall into poverty by 2020, a rise in the child poverty rate from 19.2 percent today to 24.4 percent. That’s the kind of sustained increase in child poverty not seen since the 1980s – and an almost complete reversal of the 900,000 children lifted out of poverty under Labour. It’s a wake-up call for both parties and a chance to seriously rethink our approach to the 2020 target to abolish child poverty.

You might say that, given the current crisis, these gloomy figures aren’t surprising – things will take time to recover and we shouldn’t overreact. But this story, of an economy knocked down and slowly getting back on its feet, simply doesn’t fit the reality. On the contrary, relative poverty is perversely set to fall in the short-term because those in the middle are fairing so badly.

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child poverty

The coalition is actively increasing child poverty

Date: 11. October 2011
Felicity Dennistoun and

This post originally appeared on Left Foot Forward

As has been widely reported, new figures published today by the Institute for Fiscal Studies forecast that the number of children in poverty is set to rise.

Specifically, child poverty will rise continually during the first half of this decade and stay at approximately the same level until 2020, when there will be over three million children living in poverty in the UK. The figures about adults are similarly depressing; by 2015 6.6 million working age adults will be living in absolute poverty.

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