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

Back to the furlough

U-turn to retain furlough scheme in closed sectors paves way for fresh lockdowns

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The short-lived attempt to set economic policy as if we were leaving the pandemic behind us is over, with the Government announcing that it will pay two-thirds of wages of employees in firms forced to close because of national or local restrictions. This will provide much needed support, saving many jobs in the hospitality and … Continued

Safe harbour?

Six key welfare policy decisions to navigate this winter

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Despite the new Job Support Scheme, unemployment is set to rise substantially through the autumn and winter, as the Job Retention Scheme ends and the hospitality sector adjusts to new restrictions. This means many more individuals will soon be dependent on the social security system; and as the economy moves into the next phase of … 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

All together now?

The impacts of the Government’s coronavirus income support schemes across the age distribution

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This note looks at how policies to protect household incomes in the pandemic – the coronavirus Job Retention Scheme (JRS), the self-employment income support scheme (SEISS), and a significant boost to social security benefits – have been felt across different age groups during the first months of the crisis.

The truth will out

Understanding labour market statistics during the coronavirus crisis

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Labour market statistics matter. In normal times, they offer a snapshot on how household living standards are faring, and in recessions they also provide a key measure of how serious a crisis we face. Because the current coronavirus crisis is rooted in the labour market, even more attention is being paid to the monthly labour … Continued

No work, no pay

Supporting unemployed people through coronavirus

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This recession is a labour market recession, with the public health response to coronavirus swiftly shutting down employment-heavy sectors of the economy. Although the Government has rightly committed billions of pounds to support employers, encourage retention and bail out the self-employed, it is inevitable that unemployment will rise. For those who lose their job or … Continued

Earnings Outlook Q4 2019

How should minimum wage policy respond to the current economic crisis?

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Usually in the Earnings Outlook we summarise the latest developments in pay and employment and use these to look forwards, with the trends moving slowly enough that the lag in our data is not too much of a problem. But with so much having changed so quickly, our normal indicators now serve as a guide … Continued

Next steps to support family incomes in the face of the coronavirus crisis

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The Government has set out an unprecedented package of support for family incomes, including paying 80 per cent of the wages of employees who currently have no work, via its Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme. Delivering that scheme should be the top priority, given its crucial role in preventing a very steep rise in unemployment and … Continued

Living standards
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Inequality & poverty
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Cities and regions
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Political parties and elections

Painting the towns blue

Demography, economy and living standards in the political geographies emerging from the 2019 General Election

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This report provides an audit of the demography, economy and living standards of what we term the ‘Blue Wall’: the 50 seats that were gained by the Conservatives from Labour in the North East and West, Yorkshire and the Humber, the East and West Midlands, and Wales. We explore whether simplistic characterisations of the Blue … Continued

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