Living standards
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Incomes
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Jobs
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Labour market
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Pay
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Inequality & poverty
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Cities and regions
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Political parties and elections

Election 2019: how Britain’s North-South divide is changing

Closing the divide once and for all is a challenge all political parties say they want to embrace

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The North-South divide is a theme often used by – and against – politicians to highlight inequality in the UK, and election time is no exception. But this divide has evolved over time, and is by no means the only geographical divide in the country.   The big economic divide Productivity – or how efficiently … Continued

Skills
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Apprenticeships
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Political parties and elections

Apprenticeships and adult education: how do the major parties compare?

Latest Department for Education figures show the problems that need addressing

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While big rows over Brexit and the size of state we want have tended to dominate the news cycle over recent weeks, the 2019 general election campaign hasn’t been entirely devoid of skills policy. In fact, the Liberal Democrat, Labour and Conservative Party manifestos all include bold – albeit thinly detailed – proposals on apprenticeships … Continued

James Smith

Political leaders must set out credible plans to tackle the next downturn

The time for action on macroeconomic policy is now

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Okay, fair enough, there’s a lot going on right now. With a fraught election campaign in full flow, and our future relationship with the EU still up in the air, you can be forgiven for taking your eye off preparations for the next recession. But boom and bust hasn’t gone away. So while the sun … Continued

Torsten Bell
Low pay
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Pay
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Wealth & assets
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Political parties and elections

Question Time’s £80K man was wrong about the top 5%. But the super-rich are on another planet

Those in his earning bracket have far more in common with workers on average pay than they do with the 1%

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f you live in Bolton and earn more than £80,000, you’re rich compared with your neighbours. Really rich. The average pay for all workers is just £22,000 and one in four earns less than £15,000. And yes, you’re still rich among the country as a whole: only 5% of earners make more than £80,000 – … Continued

The child poverty crisis needs pushing up the agenda in Britain’s ‘Brexit’ election

None of the main party manifestos will end child poverty

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Both the main parties have learnt lessons from the 2017 election. The Conservatives have learnt not to scare the horses with big new policies. Their 2019 manifesto is very much a ‘safety-first’ document. Labour learnt that they have a problem with pensioners – 70-year olds are twice as likely to vote Tory as Labour – … Continued

Torsten Bell
Demographics
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Political parties and elections

The middle aged, not the middle class, are the new swing voters

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An election is coming. You may have noticed. The early phase of any campaign is the contest about what the election will actually be about – where the battle lines will lie. You want it to be all about Brexit if you’re gunning for the Conservatives or Liberal Democrats, and everything but Brexit if you’re … Continued

Nye Cominetti

A good year for pay?

Five things we learned from the Annual Survey of Hours and Earnings 2019

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This morning the ONS published the Annual Survey of Hours and Earnings (ASHE) for 2019 – the most detailed data on employee pay available, telling us about high and low pay, the gender pay gap, and more besides. As a think-tank focusing on raising living standards, this is pretty crucial data for us, and for … Continued

Sinner or saint?

The flaws of the UK labour market won’t solve themselves

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The UK labour market is lauded for reaching record levels of employment at the same time as it is lacerated for the insecurities that are said to be its central feature. Two things can, however, be true at once: an economy can be job-rich at the same time as too many of its workers are … Continued

What is generational fairness?

David Runciman speech on intergenerational fairness and political representation

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This article summarises a speech by Professor David Runciman at a recent Intergenerational Centre event exploring what the concept of generational fairness means for our politics, economics and society. You can watch the full event on our event page. This article does not necessarily reflect the views of the Resolution Foundation. In the coming months … Continued

Are higher-level apprenticeships going to better-off apprentices?

What the new Department of Education statistics tell us

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This morning the Department for Education (DfE) published figures on the number of apprenticeships that were started in July 2019 – the final month of the 2018/19 academic year. And although the numbers are still provisional, they provide us with a pretty clear picture of how things shaped up for the apprenticeships sector. The big … Continued

Torsten Bell

A rare political consensus has broken out over a higher minimum wage – but achieving it is far from straightforward

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The politics of the minimum wage don’t exactly fit our lazy stereotypes. Back in the pre-crisis days of supposed consensus, debates raged about whether the policy was right or wrong. Today, when political divides are huge, everyone is falling over themselves to agree that a higher minimum wage is the way to go. The Chancellor … Continued

Jack Leslie

The Treasury and Bank of England should prepare for a three-pronged economic shock from ‘no deal’

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It’s a well-worn trope that no one knows what the economic impact of a no deal Brexit would be. And for good reason. The scale of disruption at the border, in supply chains and in the wider economy, is impossible to predict with any accuracy. Much would depend on the timing and the success of … Continued

Nye Cominetti

The labour market is delivering on jobs and pay – it is vital for living standards that we keep it that way

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A tight labour market is finally delivering decent pay growth. In the three months to July 2019, average weekly regular pay (i.e. excluding bonuses) grew by 1.9 per cent on the previous year (slightly down on the previous month). Given that average real pay grew by 2.1 per cent in the eight years prior to … Continued

Torsten Bell

Is the UK recession ready?

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The good news is we’ve now managed a recession free decade since the financial crisis. The bad news is that history teaches us this is quite unusual – booms and bust haven’t been abolished. This matters – downturns have very high costs, even when they’re not of the global financial crisis earth-shattering sort. On average … Continued

After Brexit the UK could cut VAT on energy – but should it?

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During the EU referendum, one of Vote Leave’s promises was that “fuel bills will be lower for everyone”. Specifically, Boris Johnson and others argued that: “In 1993, VAT on household energy bills was imposed. This makes gas and electricity much more expensive. EU rules mean we cannot take VAT off those bills. The least wealthy … Continued

What do the latest apprenticeship figures tell us?

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This August, as always, brought a host of headlines on academic results: from A level triumphs to parents’ confusion with the new(ish) GCSE marking system. Rather less attention, as always, was paid to students who pursued qualifications and pathways outside the traditional GCSE-to-A level-to-university route. For instance, apprenticeships, where young people can – in theory … Continued

Nye Cominetti
Pay

How to get a pay rise

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How do you get a pay rise? You could try to wrangle more out of your employer with canny negotiating tactics. That may help. But it’s not how the majority of us see our pay rise – and occasionally fall – over time. In practice, other factors are likely to be more important. Some of … Continued

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