What today’s household income figures tell us about 2016-17

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Incomes and Inequality

The best results can take time. We already have data for what happened to employment, prices and earnings in early 2018, but for a detailed look at household incomes the latest official data – out today – is for 2016-17. What does this release tell us about living standards, poverty and inequality back when The … Continued

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It’s time to properly abolish the ‘poll tax’

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Intergenerational Commission, Tax and Welfare

What is Britain’s most badly designed tax? A leading contender has to be council tax. It’s a tax based on 27 year old house valuations, but this isn’t even the biggest problem. Council tax would bear little relation to property values even if it were revalued. Typical council tax bills for the most expensive homes … Continued

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Should the Office for Budget Responsibility also forecast inequality?

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Incomes and Inequality

The strengths and weaknesses of economic forecasting are under scrutiny, perhaps like never before. How might GDP perform under different Brexit policies compared to a world with no Brexit? Is unemployment now likely to rise or fall? What will public borrowing in 2022 be? Whatever your politics, such modelling and forecasting is indispensable – so … Continued

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‘The rise of the robots’ and ‘productivity pessimism’ can’t both be right

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Public Finances and the Economy

Talk of looming automation, AI and robots is pervasive in public policy chat – including in the government’s new industrial strategy. Almost as common are projections that the weak growth of the past decade is here to stay – including in the latest official economic outlook. Sometimes these assumptions are even mentioned in the same … Continued

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Will the (Scottish) Budget raise income tax rates?

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Tax and Welfare

With the UK Budget imminent, it’s important not to forget proposals released in Scotland earlier this month. These could lead to increases in income tax rates as soon as April, intended to protect public services and benefits in Scotland. This would be a departure from the usual direction of travel in the UK: there has … Continued

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Did raising tuition fees flatter measurements of young people’s incomes?

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Incomes and Inequality

The government has announced that the maximum annual tuition fee will be frozen at £9,250; and that the earnings threshold for repayment will jump from £21,000 to £25,000. What’s more, there will be a wide review of student finances to “look again” at this turbulent political issue. While they’re doing that, government statisticians should look … Continued

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