Low-to-middle earners to bear brunt of latest prescription price increase

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Public Finances and the Economy

Despite the passing of legislation in the Scottish Parliament to remove prescription charges north of the border and pressure from the British Medical Association to follow suit in England (prescriptions are already free in Wales and Northern Ireland), the government announced last week that the cost of prescriptions will rise by 20p to £7.40 per item from April 1st. … Continued

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The type of social mobility no-one talks about

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Incomes and Inequality

Ed Miliband today addressed the issue of social mobility in a speech in Gateshead. His argument was built around the concept of the ‘British Promise’ – the idea that each generation of children will do better than their parents. It’s our own rather less lofty version of the American Dream, and it’s a promise, he … Continued

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Considering income alone is never enough when looking at living standards

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Incomes and Inequality

The Independent reported yesterday that ‘middle England’ will be ‘hit hardest’ by upcoming changes to taxes and benefits. Research commissioned by the paper finds that families in the £40k-£50k bracket are set to suffer a four-way hit from: The reduction of the 40p tax threshold; A rise in NICs rates; A sharper taper on tax credits; and … Continued

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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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