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It's Not Just 2015 That Will Be a Living Standards Election - The 2014 Vote Could Be One Too

Date: 18. September 2013
Conor D'Arcy

Danny Alexander opened his Lib Dem conference speech yesterday by terming Glasgow the "deep south" relative to his Highlands constituency. Naff jokes aside, and a year and a day before the Scottish independence referendum, his other main reference to regional differences was the lower interest rates, lower taxes and thousands of jobs which Scotland benefits from through membership of the UK. Beyond these broad strokes and a stated commitment to every corner of the UK sharing the benefits of a stronger economy, there was less of a sense of how the status quo could actually be made to work better for households. With a growing danger of regional disparities, and a recovery that accrues mainly to London and the South East, the geography of living standards is set to become all the more important. It may be not only the 2015 election that's dominated by living standards, but the 2014 poll as well.

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Will squeezed households really borrow more to prop up living standards?

Date: 4. May 2011
Gavin Kelly and Matthew Whittaker

The blog also appears on the New Statesman and Left Foot Forward.

What are we to make of different views on the extent to which growing household debt will offset the squeeze in living standards in the coming years?

The independent Office for Budget Responsibility caused a bit of a stir at the time of the Budget when it suggested that household debt is set to rise over the rest of the Parliament – from £1.6 trillion in 2011 to £2.1 trillion in 2015, or from 160% of household disposable income to 175%. Rising debt will sit alongside low savings, so that the ratio of household saving to disposable income falls to around 3½% – half its average over the last 50 years – for the duration of the OBR’s forecast period. 

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