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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Spiralling inflation continues to squeeze some more than others

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Public Finances and the Economy

The February inflation figures spell more bad news for living standards in the UK. With average weekly earnings growth standing at just 2.2 per cent, millions of workers continue to get poorer in real terms. However, differences in the make-up of typical “shopping baskets” mean that the spending implications of inflation vary by income group. Since 2007, … Continued

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Wake-up call on childcare

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Tax and Welfare

Speaking at the Liberal Democrat’s Spring Conference, Nick Clegg once again took up the cause of hard working families in Britain – his ‘alarm clock Britain’, the people who want to get up and get on. But changes to the childcare tax credit announced in the Comprehensive Spending Review and due to come in this … Continued

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It’s not all bad news on social mobility

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Incomes and Inequality

We all know the usual story on social mobility. It’s been falling steadily for ages and continued to fall during the Labour years. Plenty of politicians, journalists and pundits will line up to tell anyone willing to listen that things have got worse. It sounds like a compelling story – the problem is, it’s not … Continued

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