Digging beneath the figures on household disposable income

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Incomes and Inequality

Figures released earlier this week by the Office for National Statistics showed that total real disposable incomes have fallen in the UK for the first time in thirty years. But behind those headline figures, if we instead look at disposable income per head, there’s an interesting story about the performance of different regions across the country. In … Continued

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Trouble ahead at the Treasury, New Statesman

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Public Finances and the Economy

For many politicians, tax cuts are the elixir of politics. In times of plenty they are deployed triumphantly as evidence of a thriving economy; in times of hardship they are handed down by chancellors as a salve to a hard-pressed public. So it should come as no surprise that, even in this parliament – dominated … Continued

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Tough news for living standards from the OBR

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Public Finances and the Economy

Yesterday’s budget had been pre-billed as a boost to living standards, and in particular as targeting the ‘squeezed middle’. Of course, for most in the group this was always going to be small beer in comparison to the impacts from last year’s Spending Review and emergency budget. But overall, did yesterday bring good or bad … Continued

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Osborne the reformer is an unfinished work

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Public Finances and the Economy

One interesting aspect of today’s Budget is the government’s change of tack on personal allowances. Back in June 2010, when the Chancellor committed to raise allowances from £6,475 to £7,475, he chose to cancel out the gains for higher rate taxpayers by lowering the level at which the 40p tax rate kicks in. The idea … Continued

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Politicians have not solved the living standards crisis

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Incomes and Inequality

Stand back from the detail of today’s Budget and what we observe is Britain’s political class trying – and failing – to respond to the crisis in living standards facing Britain. They are doing this at the same time as they, of course, seek to outmanoeuvre their political opponents and build support among their friends. … Continued

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There is no single inflation rate

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Public Finances and the Economy

In December we had the wrong type of snow. Now it’s the wrong type of inflation, with the chancellor blaming bad borrowing figures on the type of price rises now hitting the UK economy. For consumers that all raises a basic question: what does it mean to say there’s more than one type of inflation, and is … Continued

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