Stealth cuts to universal credit will hit the working poor

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Tax and Welfare

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”. So here’s … Continued

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The Treasury has a point on living standards — but it ignores the role of inequality

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Incomes and Inequality

One of the big surprises in today’s Autumn Statement lies in the new OBR projections. Growth has been revised up as expected—at least in the short-term. But wage forecasts are down. Amazingly, after today’s largely positive economic news, the squeeze on wages is now going to be even longer than the OBR thought in March. The updates reflect … Continued

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A sixth of UK debt is held by those who have less than £200 a month left after essentials

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Housing, Wealth and Debt

Thursday’s Autumn Statement is likely to generate headlines about energy bills, improving public finances and the promise of a return to real wage growth in the new year. At least that is what George Osborne, the chancellor, will be hoping for. He should also prepare himself for another rash of stories about debt-soaked Britain. When people sift the detail, they … Continued

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Starting out or getting stuck?: An analysis of who gets trapped in low paid work – and who escapes

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Jobs, Skills and Pay

It is generally acknowledged that the UK has a serious low pay problem. One in five employees were low paid in 2012, which compares poorly to other similar economies. But little is known about the persistence of low pay and consequently this is an under-developed aspect of the social mobility debate. This matters because many argue that, … Continued

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The price we pay for poverty wages is too high

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Jobs, Skills and Pay

Low pay is not simply a rite of passage that young people go through, the odds of escaping are truly grim. Living on low pay in 2013 is a rough and all too common experience, but being stuck on poverty-pay for a decade or more is tougher still. Yet for all the talk in Westminster … Continued

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Crisis averted, or delayed reaction?

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Housing, Wealth and Debt

As the weather gets colder, so Britain’s economic recovery appears to be warming up. The sense of optimism engendered by positive GDP and employment figures and by a range of business surveys is likely to be reinforced at next week’s Autumn Statement with significant upgrades to the OBR’s growth projections for the coming years. Clearly … Continued

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