Crunch time

Bank of England raises rates again and signals cost of living crisis is set to deliver a £1,200 hit to incomes

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Today the Bank of England’s Monetary Policy Committee raised rates at a fourth successive meeting – a first in the 25 years since it was granted independence – to 1 per cent, a level not seen since the financial crisis. The direct impact of this change in rates on households will be small in the … Continued

Happy new tax year?

National Insurance and Income Tax changes in 2022

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The start of the new tax year brings with it one of Rishi Sunak’s major tax reforms: the rise in National Insurance, announced last September and linked to additional support for the NHS and social care. This spotlight explores what this rate rise – together with freezes in the Income Tax personal allowance, the newly-announced … Continued

Stressed out

April brings an acute squeeze on UK living standards as higher energy bills lead to widespread fuel stress

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April 2022 will see the UK’s cost of living crisis intensify as energy prices jump by more than half overnight, pushing 5 million English households into fuel stress, even accounting for support measures recently announced by the Chancellor. This is not the end, though. Against a backdrop of the highest inflation rate in 40 years … Continued

Inflation Nation

Putting Spring Statement 2022 in context

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This briefing note provides an assessment of the measures announced in the March 2022 Spring Statement.  The Chancellor approached this with the highest inflation in 40 years and the worst income squeeze on record lying ahead of us.  Against that backdrop, and with plenty of fiscal ammunition (thanks to the Office for Budget Responsibility’s (OBR’s) … Continued

Softening the blow

Looking ahead to Spring Statement 2022

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Faced with the highest inflation in at least three decades, the upcoming Spring Statement is bound to provide more support for households. But the precise set of choices – which could include support via Fuel Duty, benefits or National Insurance – will play an important role in determining the force of the cost of living … Continued

Catch 2022

Spring Statement 2022 preview

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Ahead of the 2022 Spring Statement, we preview the economic and fiscal outlook and discuss the key decisions that the Chancellor will face. The Chancellor comes into the Spring Statement with good news since the Autumn. The strongest peacetime growth in a century means the economy is around half a per cent larger, and around … Continued

Economy 2030

Shrinking footprints

The impacts of the net zero transition on households and consumption

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The 2020s are set to bring a step change in climate policy, with efforts to decarbonise the UK economy beginning to impact on household consumption to a greater extent than before. Different households will be exposed to these changes in different ways, but they will come in two flavours: upfront investment now to deliver savings … Continued

The price is right?

The April 2022 energy price rise and the Government’s response

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The Government has opted for universalism and minimising the hit to the public purse in its response to the energy price rise yesterday. The announced measures take the sting out of Ofgem’s £693 rise in the energy price cap in April with a broad-based package of support. All households will get a £200 discount on … Continued

Labour Market Outlook Q4 2021

Wages and the cost of living in 2022

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The final three months of 2021 have been a mixed bag for the pandemic and the labour market. At the end of September, the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme (JRS) came to an end after 18 months – and the feared rise in unemployment does not seem to have come to pass. But the emergence of … Continued

Home county

Options for taxing main residence capital gains

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Over the past 30 years, the total value of household wealth in the UK has risen from three times national income to well over seven times. Inflation-beating house price growth and high ownership rates have combined to add around £3 trillion of housing wealth from main residences to that total – accounting for around a … Continued

Hope to buy

The decline of youth home ownership

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This briefing note explores how the home ownership fortunes of those aged 25 to 34 have changed over time. Owning one’s home is an enduring preference for the majority of families in the UK, but today’s young people face a more serious set of hurdles to overcome than previous generations if they want to turn … Continued

Are you better off today?

Real income growth under different governments since 1955

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In the 1980 presidential contest between the incumbent Jimmy Carter and Ronald Reagan, the latter asked voters “Are you better off today than you were four years ago?”. Although far from the only question that voters do or should ask, it is a reasonable question. In the UK, since 1955, real household disposable income per … Continued

To govern is to choose

The choices facing the Chancellor this autumn

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The Chancellor has not had a quiet introduction to national policy making: overseeing 17 major fiscal announcements in as many months. This summer provided the first lull, driven by the success of vaccines and the understandable focus on Afghanistan. But the quiet phase is coming to an end. Alongside dealing with whatever new paths the … Continued

Social care
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Tax

A caring tax rise?

The impacts of a potential increase in National Insurance

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The Government intends to increase social care spending and is considering its options, having delayed a decision until the Autumn. They are 100 per cent right to do so. One option under consideration is raising National Insurance to make that possible. They are 100 per cent wrong to do so – because the far superior … Continued

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

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

Death by £1000 cuts?

The history, economics and politics of cutting benefits for millions of households next April

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The first Conservative Conference of a new parliament begins. It comes on the back of a surprisingly emphatic election win, but with rumblings beginning about the Chancellor’s plan to take £1,000 away from millions of low-income households in just six months’ time. At that conference it is George Osborne, not Rishi Sunak, that gets up … Continued

The Winter (Economy Plan) is coming

Chancellor ramps economic support back up, but avoidable design flaws will limit its success in stemming the Autumn rise in unemployment

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Economic policy yesterday caught back up with the ramping back up of social distancing restrictions by the Prime Minister earlier in the week. The Chancellor rightly announced new measures rather than sticking to plans to phase out help for workers and firms.   His most significant policy was the Job Support Scheme (JSS), an extended, … Continued

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