Nye Cominetti

All aboard the Millennial Express – longer commutes for less pay

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The ONS serve to uplift and depress analysts like me in equal measure. And today they served up the latter, with new figures showing that the number of people commuting for more than an hour to get into work has increased by almost a third (31 per cent) since 2011. Longer commutes are good news … Continued

James Smith

Pessimism, Politics and Economics: the real Budget story

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Debates following this week’s Budget have been dominated by political arguments about whether the Chancellor’s spending splurge means that austerity had been ended or lives on (our view: austerity was significantly eased but not ended). But another debate has been conspicuously absent this week, having dominated the UK’s political economy for the past eight years: … Continued

Lifting the lid on the HRA cap

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Budget 2018 may have been a bigger deal than most of us expected but it’s been underwhelming when it comes to housing, especially given the government claimed just weeks ago that ‘solving the housing crisis is the biggest domestic policy challenge of our generation’. That said, we do now have details about the lifting of … Continued

Torsten Bell

The Budget marks a very significant easing – but not an end of austerity

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Marriages require compromise. So we shouldn’t be surprised that the reluctant political marriage between Theresa May and Phillip Hammond has delivered a compromise Budget. Caught between the Prime Ministers promise to “end austerity”, the wish to see debt falling, and the reality of the parliamentary arithmetic making significant tax rises difficult the Chancellor has taken … Continued

Apprenticeship starts increased in July – but the overall forecast isn’t so sunny

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Although the UK enjoyed some glorious weather this month, the Met Office recently predicted cooler temperatures and gloomy skies in the immediate days ahead. Given the time of year, this isn’t all that surprising, but deep down you can’t help but be disappointed: the dullness of dreary weather can cause days to blend into each … Continued

The gender pay gap is at an all-time low – but beyond the headlines, things aren’t so rosy

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‘The UK’s gender pay gap has reached a record low of 8.6 per cent for full-time employees,’ read today’s headlines. This is certainly true, on the whole. But averages inevitably mask a wealth of compositional effects which show that large gains for some unwittingly offset not-so-large gains for others, as well as some not-quite-so-rosy trends … Continued

Wage growth, low pay and falling hours: breaking down this year’s ASHE figures

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For labour market wonks, ‘ASHE day’ is like your birthday and Christmas rolled into one. Each year around this time, the ONS publishes a plethora of spreadsheets packed to the brim with data on how wages have performed over the last year. While there are definitely some pleasant surprises in this year’s figures, there are … Continued

The Chancellor may have one arm tied behind his back, but there are still tax levers he can pull

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How can a government with a tenuous majority, an intra-party feud and Brexit uncertainty find the money to ‘end austerity’ on top of more than £20 billion a year it has promised for the NHS? The safe bet is that it won’t find anywhere near all of it in the Budget. This can – like … 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

Torsten Bell

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

James Smith

The OBR on Brexit: known-unknowns and unknown-unknowns cast shadow over the Budget

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As if Philip Hammond’s job over the next few weeks wasn’t tough enough already, the Office for Budget Responsibility (OBR) this morning has published its thinking on how Brexit will make his life harder for many years to come. Already charged with “ending austerity” (which, as Torsten pointed out last week, is a stretch to … Continued

Public spending
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Tax
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Intergenerational Centre
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Political parties and elections

Britain is set to replace the era of austerity with a new era of tax rises

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The main message that has united both main party conferences over the last fortnight is that the era of austerity is over. For Labour that means more spending on new things – from universal childcare to a mass programme of nationalisation. And for many Conservatives it means a return to what they love doing best … Continued

Matthew Whittaker

Is there enough fuel in the fiscal tank for another duty freeze?

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After eight years of freezes, it had started to look like successive governments’ cancellation of the annual RPI-linked uprating of fuel duty had run out of road. After all, it’s already costing the government around £9 billion a year, and that cost will grow with each passing year. But we now know that the Chancellor … Continued

Matthew Whittaker

Five charts to chill the Chancellor’s blood ahead of the Budget

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We now know that this year’s Budget will be delivered on 29 October, making it the first Monday Budget since 1962. The traditional Wednesday has been avoided, we’re told, to side-step negative Halloween-based headlines. Yet there’s still plenty of scary stuff for the Chancellor to deal with – from finding the £20 billion needed to … Continued

Torsten Bell
Demographics
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Intergenerational Centre
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Political parties and elections

Demography is the new class war

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The real question about this year’s Labour Party conference is what on earth everyone will talk about for four days. The supposed Brexit barney will be a damp squib and leadership rows have disappeared. So here’s a suggestion to fill the awkward silences: it’s time Labour talked about the arrival of generational divides in our … Continued

MAC to the future

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This morning the Migration Advisory Committee (MAC) released the final report in its year-long (plus) investigation into EU migration. The report is arguably the most comprehensive assessment of how migration has affected the UK over the past two decades, dealing with topics as diverse as the labour market, housing, public finances and subjective wellbeing. In … Continued

Alternative paths to success? The jobs landscape facing young non-graduates today

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From photos of jumping A level students to guides to freshers’ week, at this time of year it can feel like university is the only route taken by teenagers. But in fact, fewer than half of young people follow this seemingly well-trodden path at 18. And, as this morning’s ONS publication about non-graduates’ employment patterns … Continued

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