A very sectoral crisis and rewriting fiscal standards

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Afternoon all, The ramping up of restrictions is getting very real today – Wales is in hard lockdown and post-row Greater Manchester has entered tier 3. South Yorkshire has got less than eight hours left before it follows suit. All of which shows why the Chancellor was right to basically totally reinvent his Job Support … Continued

Analysing plagues, paying for pandemics and searching for aliens

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Afternoon all, This is the week the music consensus died. It’s hardly surprising, with political fracturing between parties and places reflecting the tensions all of us feel confronting the reality that this pandemic is here to stay. But it’s a disaster if public faith in collective decision taking is undermined in the midst of a … Continued

Talking tax, gender divides and predicting crises

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Afternoon all, Today is impressively managing to combine the (inevitable) end of the V-shaped recovery, with the overdue catching-up of policy with local lockdown reality. At 7am we learnt that GDP grew by 2.1 per cent in August, down from 6.4 per cent in July and 9.1 per cent in June. Almost all that growth … Continued

Epidemics of unhappiness and getting lost at sea

Top of the Charts 'Hidden gems' round-up: September 2020

The latest from Resolution Foundation Chief Executive Torsten Bell’s weekly Observer column, Hidden gems from the world of research and academia. Read more of the latest economics and policy research in our weekly reading email, Top of the Charts.   How coronavirus piled misery on India’s workers Cities are the centres of this crisis, but not all … Continued

Vaccine predictions and sleep restrictions

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Afternoon all, I see the 2020 gods have decided we haven’t had enough uncertainty and chaos. At least Donald Trump seems to understand that you quarantine after testing positive for COVID-19 – not something all our own politicians have got the hang of it appears. For the increasing number of you entering quarantine (or just … Continued

(Economic) Winter is Coming special

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Afternoon all, Winter is coming and so is the Chancellor’s Winter Economy Plan, announced yesterday. Since the plan is a) brand new and b) fiendishly complex, we thought we’d devote a TOTCs special to it. It’s complicated, so there are inevitably good and less good elements. But the big picture is this – it is … Continued

Rich partners, poor parents and Trump-loving neighbours

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Afternoon all, So we’re going from opening up to closing back down again. Local lockdowns, rules of six and (apparently) circuit breaks. All I’m saying is that the last remaining V-shapers out there must be smoking something very strong indeed. In fact, if rising cases and rising unemployment have one silver lining it’s to end … Continued

Losing the home team advantage and parental support vs the welfare state

Top of the Charts 'Hidden gems' round-up: August 2020

The latest from Resolution Foundation Chief Executive Torsten Bell’s weekly Observer column, Hidden gems from the world of research and academia. Read more of the latest economics and policy research in our weekly reading email, Top of the Charts.   Britain might look to Germany to heal the north-south divide Before the government was forced into locking … Continued

Explaining economics through rivers, mountains and concrete

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Afternoon all, Lawbreaking aside, the big news this week is that the rule of six is on, and Christmas is off. The kids are going to riot when someone tells them what’s going on, but the upside is a notably lower turkey-related divorce rate this year. That today’s GDP stats also followed the rule of … Continued

Mutant algorithims, dodgy hair salons and bad debts

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Afternoon all, Schools’ back. Well actually, ours isn’t – which I am totally, 100 per cent, relaxed about… But everyone other one seems to be, which is good news. I’ve always been in the “we should probably educate the kids” camp. It’s a rather basic civic duty. Like voting, which apparently Donald Trump is now … Continued

Contagious theories – and proof that poverty is not failure

Top of the Charts 'Hidden gems' round-up: July 2020

The latest from Resolution Foundation Chief Executive Torsten Bell’s weekly Observer column, Hidden gems from the world of research and academia. Read more of the latest economics and policy research in our weekly reading email, Top of the Charts. Proof that poverty is not failure but a trap Poverty matters and it lasts. It reduces wellbeing today … Continued

Good bosses, bad economists and the curse of the Premier League

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Afternoon all, Local lockdowns are all the rage – this time for the North West. We’d better get used to it. In a stroke of genius planning/solidarity we’re heading for a campsite in the North West tomorrow. On the plus side it’ll provide something more interesting to worry about than the (inevitable) rain. In some … Continued

Finding vaccines, winning elections and catching fish

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Afternoon all, Masks at the ready team. Arms out for the flu jabs, but hands down for the junk food. A year on from entering Downing Street, Boris Johnson has not only become a daddy (again) but he’s ended up fully embracing the nanny daddy state. The latter at least is a surprise given the PM’s personal liberalism, but … Continued

Refugees, rallies – and a reassuring chart

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Afternoon all, I’m afraid TOTCs is in rather gloomy mood today. I appreciate this isn’t what anyone wants to hear, but I really fear we’re only in the foothills of the economic bit of this crisis in so far as households are concerned. Even if the initial recovery phase is V-shaped for GDP, household incomes … Continued

Hitting the right target, at the right time, and with the right arrows

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Afternoon all, Dishy Rishy has been sloshing the dosh. Again. This week it’s £30bn, a big deal in pre-pandemic land but only a 20 per cent increase on the £160bn already announced since March. All together that’s lots of cash. But no, it doesn’t prove Jeremy Corbyn was always right about borrowing more, or that … Continued

Making a mess in economics

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Morning all, Boris Johnson used to want to be Churchill. Now it’s FDR. I see there’s been a lot of snide remarks about the fact that re-announcing £5bn infrastructure spend isn’t quite the same thing as Roosevelt’s doubling of federal government expenditure during the 1930s. Personally, I think we should all be grateful for what … Continued

Levelling up China and levelling down VAT

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Afternoon all, Welcome to this heatwave edition of TOTCs. It nearly didn’t happen at all – I stop functioning once the mercury hits 25°C. Forget COVID-19, the sunburn-and-sweat risk should have been enough to put people off sardine-ing it up on Bournemouth beach yesterday. But I’m liberal enough to see that for each sun-phobic vampire … Continued

The public benefits of strikers and tweeters

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Afternoon all, Coronavirus? There’s NOT an app for that we learnt today. And unfortunately, there’s no quick fix for the unemployment spreading across Britain either. 600,000 fewer people on payrolls in just two months was the headline from this week’s depressing job news, while we’ve now seen the numbers on Universal Credit rise from 3 to 5.3 million since … Continued

Slumps, supply chains and solutions

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Afternoon all, Happy “the economy’s shrunk 9 times faster than it ever has before” day. I’m sure we’re all grateful to the ONS for getting Friday off to such a perky start with the GDP stats out this morning. The nation’s official statos even made an animated chart to ram home the point that we’re not just taking TV shows … Continued

Observing, understanding and improving society – for everyone

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Afternoon all, One of the surprising outcomes of two months of lockdown is how tiring its physical and emotional impact has been. And along with the responses of anger and activism, it’s hard not to feel drained too in the face of truly awful scenes from the United States – scenes that leave many waking … Continued

Making school cool and the great garden divide

Top of the Charts 'Insights' round-up: May 2020

The latest from Resolution Foundation Chief Executive Torsten Bell’s weekly Observer column, Insights. Read more of the latest economics and policy research in our weekly reading email, Top of the Charts (sign up here). Mortgage holidays are a breeze, but try taking a rent break All recessions are bad, but in different ways. Different industries … Continued

Netflix subscriptions and union cards in lockdown Britain

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Afternoon all, I see we’ve spent the week discussing optimal eye testing strategies, and introducing chunks of the country to the beauty spots of the North East. Good news for the tourism industry of County Durham in the long run, but a catastrophe for getting a grip in the midst of this crisis. Well done … Continued

Fixing Dodgy Charts, Dodgy Interviews and Dodgy Zooming

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Afternoon all, We’re heading into that phase of an economic crisis where the stats start to confirm the pain households have been facing. Tuesday’s jobs stats demonstrated that fast-rising unemployment is hitting family finances – with 450,000 fewer employees in April and vacancies down 50 per cent – and today’s public finances update showed that April saw a new … Continued

Why blaggers do it better

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Afternoon all, I hope you’re adjusting to the brave new world of opening things up rather than shutting them down. It’s definitely taking time to adjust to – practically, but emotionally too. I’ve not ventured to the garden centre yet, but just to flag that I’ll be really angry if you lot have ransacked the … Continued

Examining the past and policy prep for the future

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Morning all, Today the nation’s meant to be celebrating – happy VE day to you all. Here’s the totally clear summary of how you’re expected to celebrate. Ahead of a sunny three-day weekend the government says sunbathing is back on… but only after the weekend (and the sun) have gone. Hurrah at lockdown being lifted. But be “cautious” … Continued

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