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Briefing notes

We produce short briefing notes on current policy issues, drawing on our expertise and research findings.
Briefing note
Robert Joyce, Thomas Pope and Barra Roantree
The richest members of our society get a lot of attention. Much of the public conversation about economic inequality is concerned with, loosely, the top 1%, how different they are from the rest, how they got to where they are, and what – if anything – policy should do about it. This briefing ...
Briefing note
This briefing note discusses the consequences of Jeremy Hunt's tax and spending policies, including reducing corporation tax, increasing the point at which workers become liable for National Insurance (NICs) contributions, increasing defence spending, and reducing the interest rate applied to ...
Briefing note
This briefing note discusses the consequences of Boris Johnson's tax policies, which age groups gain, and what the impact might be on the number of people that pay higher rate tax or NICs.
Briefing note
Current plans for councils to rely on council tax and business rates for the vast bulk of their funding don’t look compatible with our expectations of what councils should provide. A proper national debate on how much we are willing to pay and what we expect of councils is needed.
Briefing note
The tax and benefit system is a key tool for a government trying to reduce inequality. In this briefing note, we examine the effects that cash benefits and taxes had on UK inequality in 2016–17.
Briefing note
This report introduces the IFS Deaton Review, setting out some key background facts, questions and puzzles that will be addressed over the next five years.
Briefing note
In this research we investigate who wins and loses from universal credit, and by how much. For the first time, we also look at the effects of universal credit on people’s incomes over eight years of their lives, rather than just at a point in time. This lets us look at the impact on those that ...
Briefing note
This Saturday (6 April 2019) marks the start of a new tax year. Unlike many other countries, the UK routinely – and sensibly – uprates the cash values of most tax thresholds and benefit rates each year in line with inflation, in order to maintain their real value.
Briefing note
After five years of recovery from post recession declines, real income growth ground to a complete halt in 2017–18.
Briefing note
Jack Britton, Laura van der Erve, Neil Shephard and Chris Belfield
This work estimates how government spending is distributed by subject studied and university attended, based on grants and unrepaid student loans (including both tuition and maintenance loans).
Briefing note
Carl Emmerson, Thomas Pope and Ben Zaranko
The Chancellor is yet to confirm how much money will be made available to departments at the 2019 Spending Review. To meet his promise to end austerity, Phillip Hammond will need to find billions of extra funding.
Briefing note
Chris Belfield, David Goll and Luke Sibieta
Pupils benefit from a large amount of state funding for education in the 12+ years they spend in formal education, about £73,000 on average for pupils aged 16 in Summer 2010 in England. The total amount they experience is shaped by their education choices (e.g. whether to stay on post 16 and/or go ...
Briefing note
English local government finance is part way through a series of major changes that will see its focus shift from being based on redistribution according to spending needs, towards more emphasis on providing financial incentives to tackle needs and boost local revenue-raising capacity. However, ...
Briefing note
Analysis of how council spending on adult social care and other services changed between 2009-10 and 2017-18.
Briefing note
The extent to which people draw on their housing wealth in later life is an important issue, with implications for the living standards of current older individuals and their use of other financial resources, the likely bequests that will be received by younger generations, and policymakers’ ...
Briefing note
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. In this note, we ...
Briefing note
In this briefing note, we examine how individuals’ financial wealth evolves as they age through retirement.
Briefing note
Since 2007 it has not been permitted to advertise food and drink that is high in fat, salt or sugar during children's television programmes. Evidence from Ofcom suggests that in 2016 children spent 64% of their viewing time watching programmes outside children’s programming. Recent discussion ...
Briefing note
Salifu Amadu, Orazio Attanasio, Bet Caeyers, Lina Cardona Sosa, Sarah Cattan, Sonya Krutikova, Peter Leighton, Lise Masselus and Mubarik Yakubu
High quality early childhood care and education (ECCE) are critical to children’s development and their success in adult life. Ghana has shown substantial commitment to improving ECCE, with one of the highest pre-school enrolment rates in Sub Saharan Africa. However despite this, significant ...
Briefing note
Barra Roantree and Kartik Vira
Over the past 40 years, the UK has seen an almost continual rise in the proportion of women in employment. The employment rate among women of ‘prime working age’ (aged 25-54) is up from 57% in 1975 to a record high of 78% in 2017.