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

Nye Cominetti

Is the minimum wage pushing people into self-employment?

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Two big changes in the labour market over the past two decades have been the rise in self-employment and the introduction and uprating of the minimum wage. Is there a connection between these trends? Legally, of course, there is no connection – the minimum wage applies to employees only. But economically, we would expect one. … Continued

Richard Hughes

Another summer blockbuster (on fiscal risks) from the OBR

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Today the OBR published its second Fiscal Risks Report, a comprehensive assessment of all the things that could go wrong with the UK’s public finances over the next 50 years. And it is a summer blockbuster – topping out at 293 pages in total. Fiscal risk analysis is the new cutting edge in fiscal policymaking, … Continued

A welcome boost for ‘just about managing’ families in Scotland

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Yesterday started with a bleak assessment by the Child Poverty Action Group of the impact of ongoing welfare cuts – specifically how the two-child limit on support, which began to be implemented in 2017, is set to push 300,000 children into poverty. But there was better news for Scottish parents later in the day, as … Continued

Nye Cominetti

Two and a half reasons to be cheerful about our strong and stable labour market

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Today’s labour market statistics were, to use a technical term, boring. In a world of high political and economic drama, our labour market has served up headline measures of real pay growth and employment which basically haven’t changed for four months in a row. We shouldn’t bemoan unchanging numbers. Like air travel and digging tunnels, … Continued

Young people are no longer footloose and fancy free – and rent rises are to blame

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Millennials, eh? They never stand still. Always on the move, with their ‘portfolio careers’, side hustles in the gig economy, and no loyalty to the companies they work for. With an attitude like that, it’s no wonder they struggle to find decent work and pay. There’s only one problem with this common trope though. It’s … Continued

Daniel Tomlinson

Union membership is rising again – but will it last?

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In 2018 the Trades Union Congress (TUC) celebrated its 150th birthday. Yesterday the government delivered a somewhat belated birthday present to the union movement in the form of new statistics showing that membership levels have risen significantly for the first time in almost two decades. Happy birthday TUC! In this short blog post, we provide … Continued

Wrong time, wrong place – leaving education in the middle of a downturn

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Modern economies are supposed to deliver improving living standards – incrementally year-on-year, with big gains decade-on-decade. That is why it is so shocking that a 30-year-old today earns no more than a 30-year-old a decade ago, according to previous research by the Resolution Foundation’s Intergenerational Commission. This is an earnings freeze on a scale unprecedented … Continued

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