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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The coalition's welfare cuts mean a dramatic rise in council tax for the poorest

Date: 31. January 2013
Matthew Pennycook

This article originally appeared on the New Statesman

The decision to reduce the budget for council tax support by 10 per cent means low-income households face a tax increase of up to £600.

Accustomed to the inflated claims of successive governments, readers might be forgiven for rolling their eyes at the phrase "radical welfare reform". Yet for once the bold rhetoric might match reality. Council Tax Benefit, the most widely claimed benefit in the UK, which provides 5.9 million low-income families with help paying their council tax will soon be abolished. From 1 April, responsibility for council tax support will transfer from Whitehall to each of England’s 326 local authorities (and the Scottish and Welsh governments). Few have yet grasped the full implications.

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In-work poverty: the decline of the male breadwinner

Date: 26. November 2012
Matthew Whittaker

Today’s important JRF report on poverty and social exclusion highlights the changing nature of poverty in recent years, finding that more than half of those children and working‑age adults who are reported to be in poverty live in a working household. This trend pre-dates the recession and, as our work has shown, is particularly concentrated among families in which just one parent in a couple works.

 

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