Universal Credit
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Welfare

Delaying rollout of Universal Credit is a sensible step – but fundamental reforms are still needed

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Today we learnt that the government is preparing a package of measures for Universal Credit (UC) ahead of the upcoming Budget – but what are they changing and what difference might it make? The first thing to understand is that these changes aren’t about the fundamentals of either the generosity or operation of Universal Credit … Continued

Pensions & savings
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Intergenerational Centre

Auto-enrolment has had a great beginning. But will it have a happy ending?

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We hear a lot about good policy plans gone wrong (Universal Credit springs to mind) for obvious reasons. But we ought to listen (and learn) from successes too. Auto-enrolment into workplace pension savings is the obvious candidate for this cheery policy tale, though the story has only just begun. Over nine million have signed up … Continued

Living standards
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Demographics
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Pensions & savings

What could the latest life expectancy projections mean for the State Pension Age?

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At the end of last week, the ONS published the latest future projections showing its best estimate of how long we can expect to live. We don’t automatically associate our living standards with factors like health or how many years of life we may have. But just like income, life expectancy is an important indicator … Continued

Budgets & fiscal events
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Welfare

Let it go Chancellor. Why Philip Hammond should revisit the benefit freeze in next month’s Budget

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The weather might be un-seasonally warm just now, but millions of household budgets are in the grip of a four-year freeze that’s about to get colder still. For decades, the government’s default position has been to uprate the value of working-age benefits each April in line with the rate of inflation prevailing in the previous … Continued

Childcare
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Welfare

A hat-trick of childcare policies are being rolled out this Autumn. But is the current approach an expensive own goal?

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Childcare support is all the rage. As well as being the focus of one of the key policy announcements at Labour Conference this week, the government is rolling out not one but three new policies this Autumn. Even in these austere times, the government is spending £2bn on the introduction of Tax Free Childcare and … Continued

Demographics
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Welfare
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Intergenerational Centre
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Political parties and elections

The welfare gap between young and old is set to widen, whoever wins the next election

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  We love a good welfare row in elections. Back in 2015, Labour was branded the ‘welfare party’ while the Conservatives were reluctant to divulge the details of the £12 billion cuts package they planned to announced shortly after the election. A cynic might wonder if they were planning to ditch that pledge in the … Continued

Living standards
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Social mobility
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Welfare

A wider range of subjects?

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Today Justine Greening is giving a speech about education and specifically the attainment of children from low and middle income families. The reaction to the speech will focus on the rights (not many) and wrongs (many) of grammar schools, but that should not wholly drown out some very welcome data work released by the Department … Continued

Pensions & savings
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Wealth & assets

Automatic success for the people?

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Political commentators love a good high-profile policy disaster. Think NHS IT systems or the poll tax. But successes happen too. Usually they’re small scale, making incremental improvements, often for specific parts of the population. But just sometimes they’re a really big deal – fundamentally changing outcomes for millions of people. When such victories come along, … Continued

Living standards
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Budgets & fiscal events
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Incomes
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Economy and public finances

Will the new Chancellor pass the first major test of support for ‘just managing families’ in his Autumn Statement?

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We are approaching the time of the football season where managers start to lose their jobs. New appointees inevitably face lots of problems, but they have an opportunity to make a name for themselves by turning things around. The key is to identify where problems are and take effective and rapid action. Even with intense … Continued

Matthew Whittaker
Brexit & trade
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Economy and public finances

Five charts that tell the story so far of the post-referendum economy

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Perhaps the only certainty in relation to the UK at the moment is that things look very uncertain. Longer-term, much will depend on just what Brexit ends up meaning. Shorter-term, most economists expect some form of demand-led slowdown – with general business and consumer uncertainty pulling back on investment and spending and sharp falls in … Continued

Universal Credit
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Welfare

The roll out of Universal Credit will lead to a postcode lottery of winners and losers

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On welfare reform, something is moving in the undergrowth. It’s called Universal Credit. The new benefit will amount to £53 billion by 2020-21, with almost half of families with children entitled to it.  Only the State Pension will be bigger. Implementing this mammoth policy is the key task facing the new Secretary of State for … Continued

Universal Credit
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Inequality & poverty
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Welfare

Could Universal Credit hold the key to reducing child poverty?

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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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