The coalition’s woes with women

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Jobs, Skills and Pay

If you want to see a fearful expression, talk to senior coalition members about shifting patterns of support among women voters. Call it a cold-sweat, or a premature onset of mid-term jitters — they are distinctly, indisputably on edge. Which is odd, at least on the face of it, given that the Conservatives — if … Continued

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Taxing times for the coalition (contd…)

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Tax and Welfare

Just in case there was any risk of the coalition row on tax policy cooling down for a day or two, along comes a new report today, Tax and the Coalition, to fan the flames.We do, of course, need to bear in mind that in this choppy pre-party conference period, there is bound to be a … Continued

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Telling the story of the recession

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Incomes and Inequality

One of the toughest challenges of economic policy is effective and timely communication.  Few Governments will survive long if their economic message is out of alignment with what people are feeling.  That’s why when ministers point to ‘green shoots’ too early you can expect a speedy retraction.  But in a subtler way, it’s also why the … Continued

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America’s skills crisis carries lessons for Britain

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Jobs, Skills and Pay

Yesterday’s FT contained one of those ominous stories that only grow in significance over time – the findings of a survey by Nielsen that reveals a huge, looming skills shortage in the US as the baby boomer generation retires. In the next five years, America’s top 100 industrial companies face an average training bill of … Continued

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Childcare double whammy: help is cut as costs soar

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Tax and Welfare

The survey (pdf) published yesterday by the Daycare Trust and Save the Children was a stark reminder of the soaring costs of childcare and the impact they are having on family budgets. Fifty eight per cent of parents in severe poverty said they were no better off working once they’d paid for childcare; 41% said they were considering giving … Continued

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Willetts plays snakes and ladders

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Incomes and Inequality

Social mobility has become something of a hot topic for the coalition. February’s Social Mobility White Paper made it the government’s number one social policy goal. Yet arguments over tuition fees have rather drowned out much of what they have to say on the topic, particularly when it comes to education and skills. So it … Continued

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