Spending fast, taxing slow

Resolution Foundation analysis of Budget 2021

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This briefing note provides an assessment of the measures announced in the March 2021 Budget. The context for this Budget was an intensification of the Covid-19 pandemic, creating a need for further policy measures to support families and firms in the months before the completion of the vaccine rollout. In response, the Chancellor announced significant … Continued

How to throw good money after good

Budget 2021 and the challenge of delivering a rapid recovery from Covid-19

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While the strength of the economic recovery from Covid-19 will depend on the vaccine rollout and the Government’s ‘road map’ for easing social distancing restrictions, it will also depend on decisions taken at the Budget which are the economic counterpart to that reopening plan. This paper assesses the economic context to the Budget: how the … Continued

Half-measures

The Chancellor’s options for Universal Credit in the Budget

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The Government has still to decide on whether to continue the £20 per week uplift to Universal Credit (UC) and Working Tax Credit (WTC), due to expire in just 45 days. There are suggestions the Chancellor will opt for a halfway house of keeping the uplift for six months. Compared to the pencilled-in default of … Continued

Long Covid in the labour market

The impact on the labour market of Covid-19 a year into the crisis, and how to secure a strong recovery

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This is the third time we have written a report taking stock of the impact of the virus on the labour market. Nine months on from our first report in June last year, some things are similar. The health effects of the second wave may be starting to recede, and thoughts are again turning to … Continued

Getting ahead on falling behind

Tackling the UK’s building arrears crisis

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This briefing note examines how families have managed their housing costs over the Covid-19 period. Although the Government has done much to support families over the past year (not least via the furlough scheme and the £20 per week uplift to UC), it is clear that financial strain has grown as the pandemic has worn … Continued

On firm ground?

The impact of Covid-19 on firms and what policy makers should do in response

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The coronavirus crisis has had huge repercussions across the economy, and the corporate sector is no exception. This paper analyses how the crisis has affected firms’ finances, puts that in context compared to previous recessions, and assesses the ability of firms to contribute to the post-crisis recovery. This is important because firms’ investment and hiring … Continued

The debts that divide us

Flash findings from a survey of families claiming Universal Credit

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The surge in claims for Universal Credit (UC) when the pandemic first hit means that UC caseloads are now about twice as high as they were pre-pandemic, with over half of all single parents now in receipt of UC.  About 60 per cent of the current caseload have newly-claimed UC during 2020, and the fraction … Continued

Housing Outlook Q1 2021

The Impact of Covid-19 on Housing Supply

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Welcome to Housing Outlook Q1 2021. In this Spotlight we consider the impact of the Covid-19 crisis on the supply of new housing. While construction sites have generally been allowed to operate throughout the pandemic, output was still severely constrained in the first half of 2020. While there was some pick up at the back … Continued

Building a living pension

Closing the pension savings gap for low to-middle income families

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The Living Wage has been successful in providing a focus on the living standards of low-paid workers and increasing pay for many lower-paid employees. However, there has been much less of a focus on the future living standards of the same group. A ‘Living Pension’ could help us understand the savings required today to provide … Continued

Pandemic Pressures

Why families on a low income are spending more during Covid-19

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Household spending has fallen during the Covid-19 pandemic, but not for many of those on the lowest incomes. This note brings together data from representative surveys with vivid accounts from parents and carers participating in the ‘Covid Realities’ research programme to explore the reasons behind, and consequences of, the cost pressures that many have faced since the pandemic began.

Improving our understanding of UK poverty will require better data

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Policy makers across the political spectrum want to improve the living standards of the UK’s poorer households. The Leader of the House of Commons recently stated that “We are committed to our manifesto pledge to reduce child poverty”, while the last Labour manifesto pledged to “eradicate in-work poverty”. So statistics about poverty matter. We need … Continued

Lockdown lessons

What 2020 has to teach us about the difficult weeks ahead

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2021 begins with England and Scotland heading into new lockdowns, and tough ones at that. Lasting until at least late February, England’s new restrictions are more comparable to those of spring 2020 than the more relaxed autumn affairs. In this short note we focus on the experience of that first lockdown, and what it can … Continued

The Missing Billions

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In this spotlight we discuss new research on the size and distribution of UK household wealth. Such wealth matters for living standards, economic opportunity and the ability of families to weather the coronavirus crisis. But it also matters because there is increasing interest in reforming wealth taxes in the UK, not least in the context … Continued

Ethnic minorities in the hospitality sector

Comparing the experiences of hospitality workers from different ethnic backgrounds

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This briefing note looks at the experiences in the hospitality sector of workers from different ethnic backgrounds. It finds that 1 in 6 hospitality workers are from an ethnic minority background, compared to around 1 in 8 workers in the rest of the economy. Ethnic minority workers in hospitality vary both in their characteristics and … Continued

Macroeconomic Policy Outlook Q4 2020

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This is our regular Macro Policy Outlook, providing a policy-focused take on the economy. In this edition, we focus on the labour market, and the prospects for unemployment.   This edition of the Macro Policy Outlook looks ahead to prospects for 2021. The early months of next year will pick up where 2020 left off, … Continued

A gap that won’t close

The distribution of wealth between ethnic groups in Great Britain

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The coronavirus pandemic has shone a harsh light on wealth inequality in Britain, with wealth playing an important role shaping families’ experience of the crisis. This briefing examines the gaps in the wealth held by different ethnic groups, and how and why they have evolved over time, finding that very significant ethnicity wealth gaps remain. … Continued

Earnings Outlook Q4 2020

Public sector pay

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As we come to the end of a year like no other, the outlook for the labour market remains mixed. At the beginning of this month, the second national lockdown came to an end, non-essential retail and hospitality businesses (in most of the country) were allowed to reopen, and recent weeks have brought official approval … Continued

Home and away

The UK labour market in a post-Brexit world

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This briefing note considers a number of ways in which the labour market could be affected as the UK moves to a tighter, post-Brexit immigration regime in January 2021. Under the new rules, legal avenues for low-skilled migrant workers to enter the UK will be more restrictively drawn, with implications for firms, resident foreign-born workers … Continued

Time out

Reforming Statutory Sick Pay to support the Covid-19 recovery phase

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In a pandemic, sick pay should play a crucial public health role, as well as providing income protection. But the UK’s Statutory Sick Pay is low by international standards, and misses out two million of our lowest-paid workers. Evidence suggests that this contributes to the low level of compliance with the legal obligation to self-isolate … Continued

Here today, gone tomorrow

Putting Spending Review 2020 into context

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This briefing note provides an assessment of the measures announced in the November 2020 Spending Review. The backdrop to that Review was the reality of an on-going health crisis and a huge hit to the economy which looks set to leave lasting damage to both household and public finances. In response, the Chancellor has ramped up coronavirus spending this … Continued

The Covid state

Analysis of the economy and public finances ahead of the 2020 Spending Review

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The Chancellor is set to unveil his Spending Review against a radically changed economic and fiscal backdrop to the one he faced in March. Although unemployment is set to peak lower and later than had been expected back in the Summer, the long-term economic scarring from this crisis is set to be significant. The OBR’s … Continued

Caught in a (Covid) trap

Incomes, savings and spending through the coronavirus crisis

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In this briefing note we examine how the family finances of working-age adults have been affected since Covid-19 gripped the nation this spring. Drawing on new data from a representative survey of 6,000-plus working-age adults fielded in mid-September, we take a close look at how incomes, spending and saving changed during both the lockdown (April … Continued

Unhealthy finances

How to support the economy today and repair the public finances tomorrow

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This report provides analysis of the dual challenges faced by the government: ensuring that there is sufficient fiscal support through the crisis and recovery, and setting fiscal policy on a sustainable long-term path. Some argue it is unsustainable to provide the massive government support during the crisis, while others see little constraint on government borrowing … Continued

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