Higher income tax thresholds won’t benefit the lowest-paid

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Tax and Welfare

No manifesto for 2015 will be complete without a promise of a tax cut. Yesterday we got our first glimpse of what the Tories might offer. Senior party figures say they want to raise the personal allowance to £12,500, matching a pledge made by the Liberal Democrats. Ministers have pitched the higher allowance as a … Continued

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Labour must now clear a higher bar on the minimum wage

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Jobs, Skills and Pay

Vince Cable’s announcements have allowed the Lib Dems to make the running on low pay but they still leave an opportunity to set out a tougher approach. This year’s pre-conference rumours gave unusual prominence to the minimum wage. After the consensus reached in the late 2000s, leading thinkers in all parties have begun to argue that it’s … Continued

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The politics of low pay are changing. This time around, the Tories would be wise to act first

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Jobs, Skills and Pay

It’s often hard to anticipate shifts in policy direction, even when they’re at close range. Like the steady build-up before a mudslide, arguments accumulate slowly but can then move suddenly, leaving the political landscape changed. Today, there are signs that such a shift may be due on the issue of low pay. With one in … Continued

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Three things to bear in mind when watching Osborne today

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Public Finances and the Economy

Why everyone’s pretty much making it up 1. Most of today’s cuts were decided three years ago In his statement today, the Chancellor needs to find cuts in most unprotected departments of around 8-9 per cent. That number flows mainly from three things: the pace of deficit reduction; the decision to protect health, schools, international … Continued

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At Last, the Minimum Wage Debate Is Growing Up

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Jobs, Skills and Pay

This post originally appeared on James’s Huffington Post blog While low pay and in-work poverty have risen up the economic agenda in recent years, our policy debate has been stuck in a loop. Ask most Labour politicians about low pay and you can expect a well-intentioned but passive mixture of pride in the minimum wage and … Continued

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The Pay Squeeze Just Got Tighter and Longer

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Jobs, Skills and Pay

This post originally appeared on James’s Huffington Post blog As always, it’s the policy pronouncements that attract the attention on Budget day. A cheap pint is much more interesting than the minutiae of OBR figures. But the big story on Wesndesday in terms of its impact on households didn’t come from the Chancellor but from Robert … Continued

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