More ambition, less risk – building on the success of auto-enrolment

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We often find it harder to celebrate policy successes than decry policy failures. So you might have missed a policy success which we are marking this week. We are about to have completed the successful initial rolling-out of automatic enrolment into occupational pension saving. Millions of employees will enjoy higher living standards in retirement as … Continued

Torsten Bell

How wealth taxes can raise billions more without scaring any horses

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Raising taxes is never easy. Raising taxes with the government’s slim parliamentary majority is harder still. Raising taxes on wealth in those circumstances, given our diverging senses of fairness is…  not a walk in the park. But that doesn’t mean it doesn’t need doing, and the good news is that significant progress can be made … Continued

Widening inequalities between generations are impeding social mobility

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Intergenerational progress – the principle that each generation will do better than the one before – has come to a halt. Millennials in their late 20s are earning less than generation X did 15 years earlier, own half as many homes as the baby boomers, and shoulder greater levels of risk than previous generations. It’s … Continued

Matthew Whittaker

Now’s not the time for auto-pilot

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Straightforward policy successes are a rare achievement in government and need celebrating when they arrive, lest we forget that policy matters. The recent sizeable gains the UK has made on private pension saving as a result of the introduction of auto-enrolment are therefore a clear cause for cheer. But challenges remain, starting with the increase … Continued

Baby boomers are going to have to pay more tax on their wealth to fund health and social care

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In the past decade a new issue has entered British politics – fairness between the generations. It straddles the conventional political divide. The Prime Minister has spoken of “a growing divide between a more prosperous older generation and a struggling younger generation”. And the leader of the Labour Party has argued that future generations should … Continued

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

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

Time to put away the credit card

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The squeeze is on. National accounts data last month confirmed that household incomes have been falling for the last three quarters. Yesterday’s labour market statistics showed that wages continue to lose ground to inflation. And today new survey data from the Bank the England shows that credit availability is tightening. Today’s survey is the latest … Continued

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

Young and self-ish? Who’s saving for their retirement and who isn’t

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When we worry about the pay of workers today, two groups often stand out as being hard hit – the young and the precariously employed, particularly self-employed workers that often work in the so-called gig economy. Concern for these groups stretches beyond the present. After all, low pay and a lack of saving makes it … Continued

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