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Briefing notes

We produce short briefing notes on current policy issues, drawing on our expertise and research findings.
Briefing note
In the recent Budget, the Chancellor introduced a tax on the sugar content of soft drinks, citing concerns about childhood obesity. This tax will be introduced in 2018 and will not apply to fruit juices or milk-based drinks. It has followed calls from various bodies for intervention to reduce ...
Briefing note
Rowena Crawford, Richard Disney and David Innes
Spending on the police in England and Wales was cut by 14% in real terms between 2010–11 and 2014–15. This briefing note, funded by the Economic and Social Research Council, places these spending cuts in the context of the large spending increases over the 2000s, and explores the differences ...
Briefing note
Stuart Adam, Daniel Chandler, Andrew Hood and Robert Joyce
This briefing note provides an overview of the social housing system. Except where stated otherwise, it focuses on the system in operation in England: many of the institutional and policy details differ in the other nations of the UK, and a full treatment of those is beyond the scope of this ...
Briefing note
The Department for Business, Innovation and Skills launched a public consultation regarding the proposal on 22 July 2015. This short note was submitted to the consultation and extends the work of Briefing Note 174 (Britton, Crawford and Dearden, 2015), analysing the likely implications of the ...
Briefing note
Rowena Crawford, Carl Emmerson and Gemma Tetlow
On 25th November the government will announce the results of its 2015 Spending Review, allocating spending between government departments for the four years 2016-17 to 2019-20. This background briefing note sets out the constraints facing the Chancellor, given the plans for the public finances that ...
Briefing note
This briefing note, prepared for the House of Commons Treasury Select Committee, documents the estimated distributional impact of the tax and benefit changes that have been announced for implementation in the current parliament. It then considers the extent to which households might expect the net ...
Briefing note
This briefing note analyses the higher education funding reforms announced by the Chancellor in the Summer Budget 2015.
Briefing note
There were large cuts to the public workforce over the last parliament during a period of fiscal consolidation. The pace of public workforce cuts is likely to accelerate over the new parliament. This Briefing Note, funded by the Joseph Rowntree Foundation and the Economic and Social Research ...
Briefing note
Stuart Adam, James Browne, Carl Emmerson, Andrew Hood, Paul Johnson, Robert Joyce, Helen Miller, David Phillips, Thomas Pope and Barra Roantree
In this summary we look at the main proposed changes to income tax, mansion tax, other taxes, and benefits in turn, with a particular focus on Labour and the Conservatives. The main body of this document then examines most of the specific tax and benefit policies of Labour, Conservatives and ...
Briefing note
Daniel Chandler and Richard Disney
This briefing note, which is part of IFS’s election analysis funded by the Nuffield Foundation, analyses the Conservative Party manifesto pledge to extend Right to Buy.
Briefing note
Rowena Crawford, Carl Emmerson, Soumaya Keynes and Gemma Tetlow
In this election briefing note we compare and contrast the fiscal plans laid out by the four political parties that are widely predicted to win the most seats in the forthcoming UK general election: the Conservatives, Labour, the Liberal Democrats and the Scottish National Party (SNP).
Briefing note
This report explores the link between reading skills at age 10 and a range of outcomes later in life, including employment status, earnings and self-reported health status. It also investigates whether reading skills have greater benefits for children growing up in poor families.
Briefing note
This briefing note focuses on changes in schools spending in England over time, comparing these with other areas of education spending, and examines how reforms to school funding have affected different groups of schools.
Briefing note
Stuart Adam and Barra Roantree
This briefing note assesses the coalition government’s reforms to the tax system.
Briefing note
David Innes and Gemma Tetlow
This briefing note focuses on net spending by local authorities on public services. It uses data from the Department for Communities and Local Government (DCLG) to delve into a number of questions about how local governments in England have responded to the reductions in their revenues.
Briefing note
Jonathan Cribb, Andrew Hood and Robert Joyce
The latest IFS briefing note examines what has been happening to living standards and unpicks the main reasons for these trends.
Briefing note
This briefing note looks at the implications of Labour's proposals for higher education funding plans.
Briefing note
Corporate tax has rarely received as much attention as in recent years. The coalition government has enacted a series of policy changes – the most prominent being an 8 percentage point cut in the main rate – with an explicit aim of increasing the competitiveness of the UK’s corporate tax ...
Briefing note
Chris Belfield, Daniel Chandler and Robert Joyce
This briefing note looks at changes in the cost of housing for different groups, before looking at changes in housing circumstances, with a focus on tenure and dwelling size, and exploring the policy challenges that these trends present.
Briefing note
This briefing note examines the Right to Buy policy in the United Kingdom, by which council tenants could buy their council properties at a discounted price, and the subsequent extension of the policy to most forms of social housing.