Key take-aways from the Chancellor’s package of measures to support workers in the coronavirus crisis

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The Chancellor’s announcements on Friday 20 March were unprecedented in their scale and reach, and absolutely vital for supporting firms and family incomes in the face of the current crisis. Here are five key take-aways on how these changes will affect families, and three next steps for the Government to consider.   1. At a … Continued

The child poverty crisis needs pushing up the agenda in Britain’s ‘Brexit’ election

None of the main party manifestos will end child poverty

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Both the main parties have learnt lessons from the 2017 election. The Conservatives have learnt not to scare the horses with big new policies. Their 2019 manifesto is very much a ‘safety-first’ document. Labour learnt that they have a problem with pensioners – 70-year olds are twice as likely to vote Tory as Labour – … 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

CB40: Happy 40th birthday to child benefit! But will it last another twenty?

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Yesterday, the minimum wage celebrated its 20th birthday. Today, child benefit is having a 40th birthday bash. But, as this analysis shows, it’s become a somewhat modest affair, with (record) low generosity, fewer people invited than in earlier years, and particularly complicated arrangements. So today is a good time to step back and take stock … Continued

Boosting benefit take-up is critical to the success of Universal Credit, but we might not be able to measure whether it’s working

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Benefit take-up rates matter. A lot. If households aren’t actually receiving the benefits that government policy entitles them to, their incomes will be lower and the social safety net will not work as intended. The government’s own estimates of benefits take-up suggest that billions of pounds worth of benefits probably go unclaimed each year. Take-up … Continued

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

Universal Credit: the honesty we owe and the changes we need

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All is not well in the land of Universal Credit (UC). Cabinet ministers are angsting in private about the challenges of rolling out this government’s single biggest domestic policy reform. Two ex-Prime Ministers are worrying in public that the benefit risks becoming a new poll tax. And Labour has (rhetorically at least) promised to scrap … 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

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

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

Matthew Whittaker

The living standards issue that’s bigger than Brexit for lower income households

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Love it or loathe it, the long shadow of Brexit is set to dominate our political weather for some considerable time to come. With good reason of course. The long-term impact remains uncertain, but we can be sure it will be significant. And in the near-term, there’s no denying that the referendum result is at … 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

Social care
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Welfare
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Political parties and elections

The Prime Minister changes direction on social care. But will the cap fit?

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Big election announcements on social care have a habit of coming back to bite you. As we pointed out in our reaction to the Conservative manifesto last week, proposals floated at the end of the last Labour government’s term for an estate tax were proclaimed a ‘death tax’ by the opposition. That tag has hamstrung … Continued

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