Inflation and the poverty squeeze: where will it strike?

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Public Finances and the Economy

Of all the ways in which trends in living standards are changing, possibly the most important and least expected has been the insidious impact of inflation on the living standards of people on low incomes. For the first time in my lifetime, the worst-off people in Britain are getting systematically and steadily worse off in … Continued

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The King’s Speech: Governor’s “bigger picture” isn’t big enough

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Incomes and Inequality

Bank of England Governor Mervyn King yesterday acknowledged that Britain’s households are now facing the toughest squeeze on living standards since the 1920s. His comments echo the findings of our report Squeezed Britain, which revealed in December that, on the basis of Office for Budget Responsibility (OBR) projections, the average low-to-middle income family will be £720 poorer in 2012 than they were … Continued

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Australia’s squeezed middle on a sticky wicket

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Incomes and Inequality

Australians continue to lick their wounds over their Ashes’ loss. But looking beyond this recent sporting catastrophe, Australia is fairing well. The economy is strong, unemployment is around 5 % and the post GFC (Global Financial Crisis) is relatively tiny. Whilst economic prospects are currently far better than in the UK, Australia still provides a … Continued

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The Spirit Level: is income equality the sole solution?

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Incomes and Inequality

Earlier this week, the ippr hosted a seminar with Richard Wilkinson, author of The Spirit Level. Wilkinson presented data set after data set to make one basic point: more equal societies have better social outcomes such as rates of mental illness and teenage pregnancy, not just for those at the bottom but for everyone. A wealthy, … Continued

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After the recession, the real pain begins

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Public Finances and the Economy

Fuel price protests rattled Blair. The 10p tax row dogged Brown. Is David Cameron ready for the storm that his huge raid on our personal finances is about to unleash? Economic narratives take shape like stalactites: the drip, drip of daily headlines deposits its wisdom and, before you know it, there’s a solid consensus. For … Continued

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Happy New Year?

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Incomes and Inequality

Well, after lots of talk of fiscal consolidation, the first real day of reckoning has arrived: today VAT rose to 20% – the first increase in the main rate of VAT since 1991, moving the UK from below average to nearer the top of international comparisons. Fiscal consolidation may be necessary – to some degree … Continued

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