From safety net to springboard

Designing an unemployment insurance scheme to protect living standards and boost economic dynamism


Losing your job in Britain is a very risky business. Low levels of out-of-work benefits are rarely an adequate safety net for those who experience job loss, and workers in the UK who move out of work are at greater risk of experiencing a large income loss than those in most other OECD countries. Some … Continued

A tale of two cities (part 2)

A plausible strategy for productivity growth in Greater Manchester and beyond


Few would disagree that the UK has a significant productivity problem, or fail to recognise that the poor performance of the nation’s largest cities outside the capital contribute to that situation. As the Economy 2030 Inquiry has made clear, the productivity of our largest cities lags the UK average, bucking the global trend for bigger … Continued

Half time

The UK’s commitment to halve poverty by 2030


On 18-19 September, representatives from around the world – including the Deputy Prime Minister Oliver Dowden and the Foreign Secretary James Cleverly – will meet for a UN summit on the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). These goals are not just about development in poorer countries: the targets and the discussions around this summit have relevance … Continued

A tale of two cities (part 1)

A plausible strategy for productivity growth in Birmingham and beyond


After the success of the Commonwealth games in 2022, Birmingham is now in the news for the wrong reasons. Financial difficulties facing the City Council culminated in a formal declaration on 5 September 2023 that Britain’s largest local authority was, in effect, bankrupt. But the understandable short-term focus on the council’s financial woes must not … Continued

Family matters

How concerns for younger relatives bridge generational divides

Report by Zack Grant, Jane Green & Geoffrey Evans of Nuffield Politics Research Centre, Nuffield College, University of Oxford, in collaboration with Molly Broome, Sophie Hale & Lord David Willetts of the Resolution Foundation. This new report, a collaborative project between the Resolution Foundation and Nuffield College, Oxford, investigates people’s attitudes towards intergenerational inequalities in … Continued

Reassessing the Work Capability Assessment

What might the proposed changes to the Work Capability Assessment mean for low-to-middle income families?


Yesterday, the Government announced that it is consulting on changes to the Work Capability Assessment, the assessment used to determine how people with health conditions are treated within the benefits system. Coming shortly after the Health and Disability White Paper, this underlines that we are going to be talking a lot more about health- and … Continued

Putting good work on the table

Reforming labour market institutions to improve pay and conditions


The UK needs stronger labour market institutions Decent work is a pre-requisite for delivering shared prosperity and improving the lives of the country’s 34-million-strong workforce. In this context, the UK labour market has a number of strengths – from high employment to a national minimum wage that is now among the highest in the world. … Continued

Gotta get through this

Energy bills this winter


Britain’s energy bill crisis is not over: Ofgem’s imminent confirmation of the Q4 2023 price cap is expected to show that annualised typical energy bills will be above £1,900 from October, close to double those before Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, and only a little below the effective level of £2,100 from last winter that resulted … Continued

It’s getting hot in here

How ever-warmer UK summer temperatures will have an outsized impact on low-income households and low-paid workers


Although the UK’s summer of 2023 has been something of a washout so far, the country is getting hotter, with temperatures over 40oC – first experienced in the UK in 2022 – set to become the norm. Hotter weather will impact different people in different ways, so this Spotlight explores what it means for Brits … Continued

Peaked Interest?

What higher interest rates mean for the size and distribution of Britain's household wealth


Over the past four decades, the total value of wealth owned by UK households has been on a seemingly-relentless upward path: rising from around three-times GDP in the mid 1980s to almost eight-times.  The key driver of this rise in wealth has been falling interest rates and the associated increase in asset prices. But the … Continued

Sharing the benefits

Can Britain secure broadly shared prosperity?


The UK has been living through a period of relative decline that has proved toxic for those on low-to-middle incomes. Against that backdrop, this report examines whether there is still a plausible path to steadily rising shared prosperity and, if so, what does it look like. It does this as part of the Economy 2030 … Continued

Flexicurity and the future of work

Lessons from Denmark


Over recent decades, the Danish labour market has performed comparatively well. Denmark has exhibited not only a low unemployment rate, but also rising employment and high job mobility across shifting economic cycles. This success is often attributed to so-called Danish ‘flexicurity’: a jobs market model characterized by high levels of external numerical flexibility for employers … Continued

Tax planning

How to match higher taxes with better taxes


The UK’s tax take is rising, and is likely to stay high, but the system is not improving. The UK needs a tax strategy to support its economic strategy, using the tax system to boost shared growth. This paper, part of the Economy 2030 Inquiry, describes what a good tax strategy would look like and … Continued

Beyond Boosterism

Realigning the policy ecosystem to unleash private investment for sustainable growth


The UK is a low investment nation. Low business investment is a big driver of this. Low investment is one reason behind the UK’s weak productivity growth, which in turn is the main reason behind the stagnation in UK living standards. Policy makers understand this and have made attempts to fix it. This paper, part … Continued

The Mortgage Crunch


Recent signs that inflation is proving ‘stickier’ than hoped has raised the prospect of even more rate rises from Bank of England, and a deeper mortgage crunch for households. Higher than expected inflation and earnings in April has led financial-markets expectations of the peak to the current interest rate rise cycle to rise to nearly … Continued

Trading Up

The role of the post-Brexit trade approach in the UK’s economic strategy


After nearly half a century of EU membership, Britain needs a trade strategy. The stakes are high: such a strategy shapes what families and firms buy from abroad, and what gets produced domestically; influences our jobs, productivity levels and, ultimately, living standards; and contributes a major plank of Britain’s international policy at a time of … Continued

Left behind

Exploring the prevalence of youth worklessness due to ill health in different parts of the UK


This briefing note is part of the Health Foundation’s Young people’s future health inquiry, in which we focus on the prevalence of youth worklessness due to ill health in different parts of the UK. We find that young people in small towns or villages are more likely than young people in big cities to be out of work due to ill health.

Where the rubber hits the road

Reforming vehicle taxes


This briefing note examines the future of motoring taxes, which need extensive reform given the necessary and welcome rise of electric vehicles. We detail a suite of policies that will protect revenues and lower income households, reduce congestion, and facilitate the transition to zero-carbon motoring. 

Food for thought

The role of food prices in the cost of living crisis


The cost of living crisis is often thought of as a cost of energy crisis. That is an understandable, but increasingly inadequate, view. In particular, it understates the growing role of food prices (up by 25 per cent over the past year and a half) in the squeeze on living standards that households – especially … Continued

Lessons from successful ‘turnaround’ cities for the UK

Navigating Economic Change

In this essay, part of our Navigating Economic Change series, the authors explore how cities can reverse long-term economic underperformance and move towards a new trajectory, looking at seven cities across five countries that have faced severe economic shocks but managed to break away from the resulting cycles of decline and transition to a more successful development path.

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