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Our goal at the Institute for Fiscal Studies is to promote effective economic and social policies by better understanding how policies affect individuals, families, businesses and the government's finances.

Yesterday, the Prime Minister announced a ‘70th birthday present’ for the NHS, pledging average real annual increases of 3.4% per year for the next five years. One challenge for the Government is where the money to pay for this will come from. In this observation, IFS researchers look at some of the options that have been mentioned.
Increases in the minimum wage boost the hourly wages of workers previously paid below the new minimum, but the impact on their living standards is less clear. This is because their living standards will be influenced by a range of additional factors such as the number of hours worked per week, taxes paid on their earnings, the benefits and other income sources they receive and the incomes of other people in their household.
This new observation provides an assessment of the SNP’s Sustainable Growth Commission’s proposals. Commendably, rather than duck the issue, they set out how they would approach the challenging public finance position an independent Scotland would start life with. Their proposals imply another decade of the sort of restraint on public spending that Scotland is currently experiencing. If this is austerity, then austerity would be extended under the Commission’s proposals
In a new IFS briefing note, we look at how council spending on adult social care and other services changed between 2009-10 and 2017-18. We find that despite these recent increases, spending was budgeted be 3% lower in 2017–18 than in 2009–10. As the population has grown over this period, this is equivalent to 9% lower per person.

Events

Upcoming event
Date 20 June 2018 | 10:00 - 11:30
Location The Building Centre
Availablity Few places remaining
At this event, IFS researchers will present the key findings from the latest in the series of flagship IFS annual reports on living standards, poverty and inequality in the UK. Funded by the Joseph Rowntree Foundation, the report will analyse living standards in the UK up to and including the latest year of data for 2016-17, while setting this in the context of the very latest developments in pay, employment and inflation.
Upcoming event
Date 26 June 2018 | 18:00 - 21:15
Location Royal Society of Arts
Availablity Places available
This is the twelfth in a series of lectures and debates being organised by the CIOT and the IFS to promote debate among policy-makers, opinion-formers and the wider tax and economics communities on the future of the UK and international tax systems.
Upcoming event
Date 09 July 2018 | 09:30 - 16:15
Location RICS
Availablity Places available
This conference is jointly organised by IFS and ETPF, and will include a mix of policy and research presentations broadly looking at the issues that remain post-BEPS.

Publications and research

Supporting children is a major aim of public spending. This new IFS report, published by the Children's Commissioner, provides new estimates of total spending by the government on children in England, including benefits, education spending, services for vulnerable children and healthcare.
There has been lots of recent research and debate on individuals’ accumulation of wealth for retirement, driven by the concern that younger generations are not saving enough. Much less attention, however, has been paid to how individuals use their wealth once in retirement. New IFS research published today sheds light on the ways in which wealth is used in retirement and the ways it is passed down.
Professor Imran Rasul, Co-Director of the IFS's Centre for Microeconomic Analysis of Public Policy, has given a keynote address at the 13th Nordic Summer Institute in Labour Economics. The conference, held this year in Helsinki, provides an opportunity for the best labour scholars in the Nordic countries to get together and discuss their work. Imran presented a paper about tracking the early years, based on research with IFS colleague, Chris Belfield.
It is well known that the average graduate earns more than non graduates, and that university graduates from certain subjects and from certain universities earn considerably more than others. But to what extent are earnings differences across university courses down to the course itself, and to what extent are they due to differences in students doing the courses? Using new data, IFS researchers investigate returns to different degree courses.
With the date of the 70th anniversary now just a month away (5 July) there is growing speculation that there might be an announcement soon. Whether soon or not, spending on the NHS is so big that whatever decision is made over how much to spend will have a big impact on the government’s fiscal position and/or on its ability to fund other services.
Despite the growing importance of people working for their own businesses, relatively little has been known about the incomes and business activities of this group. New IFS research is using government tax records to fill in some of the gaps.

News and announcements