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IFS at 50: The future of benefits

The next event in the "Future of Policy" event series is the Future of Income in Retirement on 25 June, featuring Carl Emmerson (Deputy Director, IFS), Sir Steve Webb (Royal London, former Pensions Minister and IFS alumnus) and Professor Sarah Harper (Founding Director of the Oxford Institute of Population Ageing). Find more information and book your place for that event here.

You can watch the video from the Future of Benefits event, and download Robert's slides, here.

The British economy is going to face a number of big issues over the next fifty years. Whether it is reforming the tax and benefit system, managing an ageing population, or preparing for the workplace of the future, there are plenty of challenges and opportunities ahead.

Debates about welfare policy are invariably controversial, going right to the heart of what kind of society we want to be. Focusing on working-age social security, Robert Joyce will kick off the event by setting out the trade-offs that make this such an important and difficult area, how and why our approach has changed so radically over time, and how evidence can help us design policy better. He will then join Sir John Hills (LSE and former IFS researcher), Lord Freud (author of the 2007 Freud Report on the welfare-to-work system) and Liz Sayce (member of the Social Security Advisory Committee and former Chief Executive of Disability Rights UK) to discuss how we should tackle the big challenges we face going forwards.


Robert Joyce

Robert Joyce is a Deputy Director at the IFS and he leads the Income, Work and Welfare sector. His research focuses mainly on economic inequality and on the design of the welfare system.

Lord Freud

Lord Freud  is a former Minister of State for Welfare Reform in the Conservative Government of the United Kingdom. Before he joined the Conservative Party, he advised New Labour on welfare reform during its final term of office. He is a past vice-chairman of investment banking at UBS.

John Hills

John Hills is Richard Titmuss Professor of Social Policy and Chair of the Centre for Analysis of Social Exclusion (CASE) and at the London School of Economics. He was Chair of the National Equality Panel (2008-2010) and carried out a review of the aims of social housing for the Secretary of State for Communities in 2006-07.

Liz Sayce

Liz Sayce was Chief Executive of Disability Rights UK from 2007-2017. She is a Non Executive Director of the Care Quality Commission and a member of the Disability Advisory Committee of the Equality and Human Rights Commission, the Committee of Healthwatch England and the Social Security Advisory Committee.

About the Future of Policy series

The Institute for Fiscal Studies (IFS) is celebrating its 50th anniversary in 2019, and to mark the occasion we will be holding a series of events throughout the year where we draw on this experience to consider these big issues and discuss what evidence-based analysis can tell us about how to understand and respond to them. Events in this series will feature expert insight from IFS researchers and key commentators on each topic, and there will be plenty of time for discussion and debate.

Other events in the series include:

3 April: The future of tax
25 June: The future of income in retirement
28 October: The future of education

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Find out more

Past event
Tax underpins everything the government does and is often used by policy makers to try to shape the economy. Tax is also central to citizens’ views on whether our society is fair. This IFS at 50 event will look at how tax has changed in recent decades, what it means to aspire to a well-designed tax system, and how taxation will have to change to address the challenges of the future.
Past event
Little is more important to our society and economy than the effectiveness of our education system. This IFS at 50 event will look at how spending on and effectiveness of the different stages of education have changed over time, how well children from different social backgrounds do, and what the big challenges are for the future.