Facts and figures about UK taxes, benefits and public spending.
Income distribution, poverty and inequality.
Analysing government fiscal forecasts and tax and spending.
Analysis of the fiscal choices an independent Scotland would face.
Case studies that give a flavour of the areas where IFS research has an impact on society.
Reforming the tax system for the 21st century.
A peer-reviewed quarterly journal publishing articles by academics and practitioners.
In these frequent observations, we look at aspects of topical issues related to our research programme. To sign up to receive email alerts when new observations are posted, please email Bonnie Brimstone.
How rich are you and your household? Most people think they are towards ‘the middle’ of the distribution, but this obviously can’t be true for everyone. The IFS has used the latest data on household incomes to help you work out where you are in the income distribution.
The OBR's second fiscal sustainability report, published today, reminds us of the significant challenges which we face as a result of the spending pressures created by population ageing and a likely loss of tax revenues from motoring and north sea oil and gas companies. We need to respond to this analysis by planning now for the changes to spending and taxes that will be required.
Official figures published today show, for the first time, estimated spending outturns by Whitehall departments for 2011-12. Despite most seeing their budgets cut between 2010-11 and 2011-12, Whitehall departments have underspent their allocations by an estimated £5.3 billion. In this observation we set out which departments did not spend their allocations.
Today, the government published new household income statistics and announced a consultation on the measurement of child poverty. IFS researchers take the opportunity to reflect upon what child poverty is and how it should be measured, and to discuss current government thinking in this policy area.
New IFS research published today demonstrates the compelling case for road pricing as part of a radical overhaul of the way in which motoring is taxed. Current taxes - excise duties on road fuel and vehicle excise duty - are unable to capture the substantial variation by time and location in the external costs associated with motoring. At the same time, official forecasts from the Office for Budget Responsibility suggest revenues from these current taxes are set to erode significantly in the medium-term. Road pricing would provide not only a more economically rational way of taxing motoring but also a more sustainable tax base.
Politicians often say they want to see income inequality or poverty fall. The current fiscal climate, and the government's aim to eliminate the budget deficit mostly through spending cuts, constrain the scope for additional large-scale fiscal redistribution in the near future. It is therefore natural to ask what role labour market changes might play in the years ahead. With this in mind, work co-authored by IFS researchers and published today considers the likely impact of changes in the mix of jobs over the rest of this decade on typical measures of income poverty and income inequality.
The Home Office have unveiled their alcohol strategy to reduce excess alcohol consumption. Notably, it includes a proposal to introduce a minimum price per alcohol unit in England and Wales, suggesting 40p as a likely rate. Analysing the detailed off-licence alcohol purchase data of more than 19,000 households, this observation argues that the policy would be a very significant intervention.
The Government has an ambition to increase the income tax personal allowance to £10,000 by the end of this Parliament. James Browne investigates how much it would cost the Government to reach this ambition, who would benefit and what the economic impact might be.
Concern that too little saving is done by a significant number of UK households has long been a motivation for government policy. However, any intervention by policy makers designed to increase household saving rates should ideally be based on high quality evidence on the efficacy of different policies. A new British Academy policy centre report authored by IFS researchers examines the evidence for different types of policy to promote household savings: financial incentives, education, 'nudges' and social marketing. Despite the obvious importance attached to the issue in the UK and internationally, the report concludes that significant gaps in the evidence base remain.
This week, debate over the Government's Welfare Reform Bill has returned to the House of Commons. An element that has grabbed a lot of attention is the proposed benefit cap for working-age households (excluding those claiming Disability Living Allowance or Working Tax Credit), which will be set at £350 per week for childless single people and £500 per week for other households. This is now expected to affect about 67,000 households in Great Britain when implemented in 2013-14, reducing their benefit entitlement by an average of £83 per week and cutting the benefits bill by about £290 million in that year.
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