Colleagues reunited

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Afternoon all, Well that was a smoothly executed reshuffle. From painful experience I promise you the baseline for these things is a mixture of excruciating social awkwardness and total chaos. It broadly happening to plan (bar a bit of Raab wrangling) is a triumph. The No10 operation will be satisfied with the job they’ve done, … Continued

Social Care Budget Special

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Afternoon all, There are busy weeks in economic policy making, and then there’s this week – with its tsunami of tax and spend announcements. We all knew big decisions were coming this autumn, but not that quite so many of them would get answered quite so quickly. Given all of that, and with the dust … Continued

Scientific cities and successful siestas

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Afternoon all, It sounds like we’re approaching D-Day with regards to the reform of social care funding in England. That’s really welcome given the sector has been putting out SOS calls for well over a decade and we’ve politely looked the other way. This won’t come cheap – decent care for an ageing population, with … Continued

Covid could still make a mockery of the best-laid economic plans

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The last 18 months haven’t been normal. You’ll have noticed. But while it’s blindingly obvious in our personal lives, we’ve struggled to recognise it when thinking about the economy. All downturns are different, from their causes to their depths. This is a challenge for policy makers prone to looking back to previous recessions for clues … Continued

Buckle up – milkshake droughts are just the start

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We’re not used to modern capitalism being a mess. For something so incredibly complex, it runs incredibly smoothly in normal times. Even those of us who don’t like many of its outcomes, for inequality or the environment, can marvel at how quickly a huge variety of goods and services are available to us almost instantaneously. … Continued

Rubbish regulation, perfect procurement and long covid

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Afternoon all, The chicken’s off, milkshakes awol and abattoirs in meltdown. Luckily TOTCs has made it through this week’s supply chain disruptions unscathed. In fact, I wouldn’t mind some interrupted supply chains if that meant fewer interesting economics papers being published – would help in the quest to vaguely stay on top of what’s coming … Continued

Dodgy data, working workers and back to basics on benefits

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Afternoon all, Welcome back to TOTCs, and apologies again for abandoning you for the past fortnight. Then again, those two weeks haven’t really been about economics, as Afghanistan has surged from being totally ignored by UK politics to centre stage. As ever having policies but no plans can seem fine, until it’s suddenly not (an … Continued

Winning at life with Western Welsh walks and chocolate cookies

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Afternoon all, Our Olympics medal tally is up (rowers aside), case numbers are down and holidays are here – so happy days. Two weeks camping drowning in drizzle in the Lakes means TOTC will be taking the next fortnight off. If you could all keep the declining Covid thing going while I’m away that would … Continued

Dodgy politics, dangerous heat and declining vaccines

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Afternoon all, It’s been a bit of a manic week. It was only last Sunday that the PM was ‘piloting’ his way out of isolation in the morning, but locked back down by tea. On Monday night the Government was about to announce an infusion of badly needed cash into social care (a great idea) … Continued

Thirty years of Universal Credit hurt

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Morning all, I hope you’ve all calmed down from Wednesday and watching, what painful experience taught us was, an iron law of football being overcome. England, it turns out, do not always throw it away. And if Gareth Southgate manages to get a win on Sunday he’ll have overcome another iron law of the past … Continued

It’s coming home. And we’re going out.

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Afternoon all, It’s coming home. And we’re going out to watch it. It’s not clear what’s causing the bigger psychological shock to the English: finally beat Germans, or all the eye contact opening up has led to. What is clear is that all that beer facilitated cheering is very labour intensive. Furlough rates have fallen … Continued

UK employers may be struggling to fill jobs, but this isn’t a new era of worker power

Although the labour market is starting to recover, the effects of the pandemic will be felt for a very long time

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Commentators have decided that the labour market is booming, reporting that firms are finding it hard to hire people. Some have predicted the dawn of a new era of worker power that will push up wages, while others worry labour shortages will hold our recovery back. The bigger danger, however, is that we’re losing sight of what’s … Continued

Dinosaur dads and TikTok time wasters

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Afternoon all, Politics is dominated by staffer chat this week – Keir Starmer’s moving some of aides around and Matt Hancock’s… moving around with one of his own. This is all rather distracting us from the big picture: we’ve adopted a herd immunity strategy for the youth without anyone talking about it. Now I’ve absolutely … Continued

Top of the Charts: Expanding grades and shrinking tax takes

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Morning all, Thanks for your patience while TOTCs wandered off last week. Having entirely ignored the news, returning to sausage wars headlines on Monday was an unwelcome surprise. They speak to a serious national decline. Not in terms of what it means for Global Britain’s G7 relaunch, but because it shows our once great press … Continued

Poor neighbourhoods, powerful firms and missing research on race

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Afternoon all, Heavily emotionally conflicted this week. On the plus side is the news that the sun does in fact exist. But the combination of self-isolating after a Covid contact (tests all negative fear not) and Dominic Cummings’ omni-dumping on the Government inevitably drags you back to the traumas of last year – before the … Continued

A decade of huge economic change

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Afternoon all, Here’s a thing: we increasingly don’t like economic change, but there’s quite a lot of it coming – in part because we’ve chosen it. This week’s TOTC special digs into this paradox, which is part of the motivation for The Economy 2030 Inquiry we and LSE’s Centre for Economic Performance have just launched. … Continued

Lessons from Radical Kiwis and Social Democratic Yanks

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Sign up for our weekly Top of the Charts reading email Afternoon all, Some big, if not particularly original, news. I’m off to get vaccinated the second TOTCs leaves my inbox to arrive in yours. Obviously excited about the whole lower risk of infection thing, but the main thrill is to discover that there is … Continued

The economics of elections, mental health and LGBTQ issues

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Afternoon all, Turns out David Cameron had a cunning plan. Calling and losing a Brexit referendum may have cost him his job, but it’s proved electoral mana for the party he left behind. It’s hard to imagine a wedge issue that would quite so neatly turbo-charge England’s decades long political realignment. And do so in … Continued

Counting hours, insuring incomes and mourning economists

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Sign up for our weekly Top of the Charts reading email Morning all, It’s been a difficult week for some of us, realising that we’ve somehow not managed to bag a second job with Greensill when it turned out they were handing out cash to any Tom, Dick or Harry (it does appear to all be men). To get … Continued

Bold moves for Chess, infrastructure and (electoral) wall painting

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Afternoon all, TOTCs is back from a pleasant Easter break – it was nice to get away stay home, living the lockdown dream (hopefully for the last time). In retrospect it was a basic error not to have snaffled parenting duties for next week given that’s when the whole country will actually be celebrating something rising … Continued

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