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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Council tax is a farce – it’s time for a real property tax

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Intergenerational Commission, Tax and Welfare

It’s an open secret that council tax is a dog’s dinner. It was conjured up in the early 1990s as a half-way house between the hated ‘poll tax’ and the old domestic rates system, meaning those in top-band properties have much lower tax rates than those in cheaper homes. In England and Scotland, it is … Continued

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Not quite pay growth party-time yet

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Jobs, Skills and Pay

Today the ONS published the latest pay growth figures covering the year to January. These, along with yesterday’s inflation data, suggest that the squeeze which has dragged down real pay for twelve months is finally over. However, at the risk of sounding Eeyore-ish, pay growth is likely to remain subdued for the rest of 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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Today’s problems of intergenerational inequality risk becoming tomorrow’s big social mobility divide

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Intergenerational Commission

Launching a review of higher education recently, the Prime Minister spoke of her wish to make the UK a country ‘where your background does not define your future’. Naturally, education is almost always pitched as the key to upward social mobility – but to what extent does it really level the playing field? It is … Continued

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What Philip Hammond will say today: the deficit is dead, long live the debt

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Public Finances and the Economy

Philip Hammond is going to give a very short speech at the Spring Statement today. There will be none of the tax and spending announcements we are used to when Chancellors rise to the Despatch Box. But short and largely announcement free as it will be, tomorrow’s speech will nonetheless represent something very significant for … Continued

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