Universal Credit’s future depends on whether it’s the economics or the politics that comes first for the Treasury

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Welfare & Tax Reform

Incentives matter. That was one of the central assumptions behind the creation of Universal Credit. As well as creating a simpler benefits system (a good thing in and of itself), the purpose of the new benefit is to drive up employment by providing a clearer financial incentive to enter and progress in work. But incentives … Continued

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Tone down, phase in or transition to: the options facing the Treasury on tax credits

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Welfare & Tax Reform

Following developments in the House of Lords, we’ve entered a new phase in the tax credits debate. Whatever the constitutional rights and wrongs, everyone can agree that the ball is firmly back in George Osborne’s court. Indeed last night he promised to look again at the changes. The real question now is to what extent … Continued

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National Insurance cuts: far from being the silver bullet for tax credit changes they miss the target

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Welfare & Tax Reform

It was another busy weekend in the debate on the changes to tax credits that are set to be introduced next April. More suggestions about how the Government might ameliorate the impact on low income working families have been set out. In particular there’s been a bit of focus on the role National Insurance changes (specifically on … Continued

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We can’t (tax) cut our way out of the tax credit problem

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Welfare & Tax Reform

When it comes to this April’s tax credit cuts we’re now swiftly approaching t‎he point where everyone accepts there is a problem, and starts to ask the real question – what is the solution? ‎ Forthcoming work from the Resolution Foundation will look at the issue in detail, but it’s worth sketching out the parameters … Continued

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Will wages fill the tax credit gap? Don’t Budget for it

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Wages & Income

Recent high-profile converts are bringing headlines and new vim to the debate on working poverty. Good. But with this comes a cacophony of confusion about the National Minimum Wage (NMW), Living Wage, the role of tax credits and the likelihood that a recovery in earnings will compensate for cuts to in-work support. And this risks … Continued

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Could Universal Credit hold the key to reducing child poverty?

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Welfare & Tax Reform

We discovered this morning that the proportion of children living in relative poverty is at its lowest level since the 1980s. Great news of course, but this headline masks a much more complicated – and worrying – picture. Falls in this headline poverty measure – which captures those children living in households with incomes less … Continued

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