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Observations

In these frequent and topical observations, we comment on policy issues related to our research programme. Sign up to receive email alerts when new observations are posted, or scroll down to subscribe to one of our RSS feeds.
Observation
At the last election, the Conservative Party manifesto committed to increasing teacher starting salaries in England to £30,000 per year by September 2022. However, to ease pressure on school budgets and the public finances, the government has now announced a freeze on teacher pay levels in England ...
Observation
Official statistics released by DWP today show that by February this year there were 5 million Universal Credit (UC) claimants – double the number seen pre-pandemic.
Observation
The unwinding of the furlough scheme represents a step towards ‘normality’ in the labour market, but it also will mean big income losses for many of those who end up unemployed unless they are swiftly able to find alternative employment. In this observation we discuss the kind of support ...
Observation
Taxes are often the subject of debate; that is as it should be. But those debates need to be well-informed to produce sensible policy outcomes.
Observation
In this observation we look at the arguments to consider when assessing the merits of the large injection of education spending.
Observation
Recent IFS work shows that students from disadvantaged backgrounds see some of the largest financial benefits from going on to university. But these students are also less likely to attend university than their better-off peers who get exactly the same grades as them. And, even among students with ...
Observation
Increasing attention is being given to the ‘gender pension gap’ – the fact that on average women have lower private pension wealth and lower income in retirement than men.
Observation
A special Issue of Fiscal Studies published today by Wiley on behalf of the Institute for Fiscal Studies (IFS) provides new analysis of the evolution of mortality levels and socio-economic inequalities in 11 OECD countries, including England, over the last 20-30 years.
Observation
While there is still much uncertainty, we now project Scotland’s budget deficit in 2020–21 to have spiked at between 22% and 25% of national income, up from 8.6% of national income in 2019–20, although less than our previous projection. It is also still higher than a forecast deficit of 16% ...
Observation
This morning the ONS published its first estimates of the public finances over the whole of the financial year 2020-21. Borrowing is estimated to have reached £303 billion, or 14.5% of national income. This is £52 billion less than the £355 billion forecast by the Office for Budget ...