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.
The key question for the next Government is what size and combination of public spending cuts and tax increases to implement to repair our public finances. Anyone looking for a more detailed answer from Labour in its manifesto will have been disappointed.
As we watch the parties squabble over how much can be achieved in efficiency savings this year, it is worth remembering that we will not be able to judge with confidence which was right even after the event.
Robert Chote and Carl Emmerson
Last week Chancellor Alistair Darling warned us not to expect a giveaway in next week's Budget, while his Chief Secretary to the Treasury, Liam Byrne, reassured us that the Government could halve the deficit by 2013-14 without announcing any further tax increases. If both statements prove correct - no pre-election tax giveaway and no new post-election tax takeaway - then this would break the pattern of the last four general elections.
In his 2008 Conservative party conference speech, Shadow Chancellor George Osborne announced that an incoming Conservative government would freeze Council Tax in England for two years. Over the past month, the parties have been disputing how much it would cost, if it were to be implemented in 2011-12 and 2012-13. IFS researchers have re-analysed this policy and find that putting a number on how much it costs is not simple, and this observation explains why.
"Whoever wins the election, Labour or Conservative, is going to have to cut spending. That is not something that Margaret Thatcher actually did. So tougher than Margaret Thatcher." So said George Osborne on the Today Programme this morning - and the numbers by and large bear him out.
The issue of marriage and family life looks set to be a key election battleground. In recent weeks, the Conservative Party's policy on supporting marriage in the tax system has been under the spotlight. A Green Paper on family policy is due to be released by the Government next week. Recently-published IFS analysis, and two new projects funded by the Nuffield Foundation, hope to shed light on some of these issues.
It is widely known that income inequality has risen substantially over the past thirty years. During the 1980's, in particular, inequality rose dramatically - to levels from which it has never subsequently fallen. But what lies behind this increase in income inequality?
The Child Poverty Bill, due to be debated in the new Parliamentary Session, places a duty on the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions to ensure that child poverty in 2020-21 is eradicated. But how can such a duty be legally enforced? Might there be a better way to improve poor children's lives? And is legislation needed at all?
One of David Cameron's key themes in his speech to the Conservative Party conference was that Labour has "made the poorest poorer", "left youth unemployment higher" and "made inequality greater". How fair are these accusations?
Gordon Brown's speech to the Labour party conference confirmed that, if it wins the general election, the Government will provide free early education and childcare places for 2 year old children in low-income families in England by 2015, to be funded by scrapping the tax break on employer-provided childcare vouchers. Who will win and lose from this change, and what does it tell us about the Government's priorities?
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