Living standards
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Prices & consumption
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Brexit & trade
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Tax

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

Matthew Whittaker
Living standards
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Inequality & poverty
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Brexit & trade
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Economic growth

Dis-United Kingdom? Inequality, growth and the Brexit divide

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Much has changed in Britain since the EU referendum, but in many ways the divide that opened up around the vote feels as cavernous today as it was on the morning after the night before. That owes much to the inevitably divisive nature of a binary in/out referendum of course, but many commentators point also … Continued

Torsten Bell

There’s much uncertainty about a ‘No Deal’ Brexit, but what we do know would be bad for living standards

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Big change, means big uncertainty. Especially when that big change is being brought to the complex beast that is a major developed country in the 21st Century. To complicate the task further, in the case of Brexit Britain while we know big change is coming, we don’t know what form that big change will actually … Continued

Matthew Whittaker
Living standards
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Brexit & trade
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Political parties and elections

How important was Brexit in the so-called ‘Brexit election’?

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Anyone who channel-hopped their way through Thursday night’s election coverage will have noticed two things. First, pundits are very good at recycling and refining their reactions as they work their way around the various studios. And second, different channels established different, but seemingly equally plausible, narratives about just what on earth was happening. But one … Continued

Torsten Bell
Living standards
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Brexit & trade

Britain has enjoyed a mini living standards boom – so why did we vote for change?

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The living standards story of last year was record employment, a higher minimum wage and the strongest income growth for a decade. Britain’s never had it so moderately okay. What’s more inequality was either flat or falling – poorer households did better than most. But the democracy story was a Brexit vote for big change … Continued

Torsten Bell
Living standards
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Brexit & trade

The big picture tomorrow will be about the consequences of Brexit, but don’t forget its causes

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Like bad pop music, there is a predictable rhythm to all Budgets and Autumn Statements. That’s partly about the theatre on the day – a photo outside Number 11, Chancellor’s statement in the Commons (including the rabbit out of a hat announcement) and the opposition’s response (usually involving shooting foxes and recently Communist book club … Continued

Matthew Whittaker
Brexit & trade
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Economic growth

Amid all the Brexit uncertainty, a clearer picture is emerging

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Among the many things that feel different in the post-referendum world, there is an unusual air of anticipation surrounding what would previously have been considered relatively underwhelming statistical releases. Today we were treated to a quartet of such publications. On the face of it they appear to point in different directions, allowing commentators on both … 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

Torsten Bell
Living standards
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Incomes
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Inequality & poverty
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Brexit & trade

The referendum, living standards and inequality

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Today’s result is what earthquakes in politics look like. It will have big long term impacts on the future living standards of the British people – impacts on employment, pay and prices that will matter much more to people than today’s falls in the value of Sterling or the stock market, bad though those are. … Continued

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