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Observations

In these frequent and topical observations, we comment on policy issues related to our research programme. Sign up to receive email alerts when new observations are posted, or scroll down to subscribe to one of our RSS feeds.
Observation
Pre-pandemic, local authorities received funding to deliver free childcare places each academic year based on the number of children accessing childcare in January of that year. As a result of the pandemic, funding for the Autumn 2020 term has – unusually – been based on childcare attendance in ...
Observation
The temporary £20 per week increase in Universal Credit and Working Tax Credit enacted at the start of the pandemic is due to expire at the end of March. Some campaigners have called for it to be extended for another year or made permanent, while the government are said to be considering instead a ...
Observation
Arun Advani, Sonkurt Sen and Ross Warwick
The economics profession – and the current student population studying economics – is not representative of society, with women, some ethnic minorities, and state school students underrepresented. Recent data shows that while more than 7% of private school boys who went on to an undergraduate ...
Observation
Last week, the IFS published research on how the impact of the COVID-19 crisis on consumer spending and behaviour has varied across the country. In a new observation, we consider the implications of this research for local government.
Observation
We find that reductions in social care spending led to substantial increases in use of Accident & Emergency (A&E) departments by individuals aged 65 and above. The impacts were most pronounced among the very oldest (those aged 85 and above) and those living in more deprived neighbourhoods.
Observation
People on middle and higher incomes need to save privately for retirement, but deciding when and how much to save is difficult. One particular trade-off people face is how much to save in a pension and how much to save for, or spend on, owner occupied housing. In new research published today we ...
Observation
The 2020 Spending Review, due to conclude on 25 November, will not be the comprehensive, multi-year review we were originally promised. Instead, the Chancellor has decided to set plans for 2021−22 only – a sensible decision in the circumstances. But while this Spending Review might be more ...
Observation
MPs will debate a number of petitions today relating to university tuition fees. These petitions are asking for all or part of tuition fees for the 2019/20 or 2020/21 academic year to be reimbursed. Between them, they have gathered nearly a million signatures.
Observation
In the wake of the crisis, the government brought in two policies specifically targeted at shoring up the incomes of the self-employed: the Self-Employment Income Support Scheme (SEISS), and the suspension of the Minimum Income Floor (MIF) for self-employed claimants of Universal Credit (UC). The ...
Observation
Last week saw significant political debate about the amount of extra funding being given to English councils moving into tier 3 (‘very high alert’) of the government’s COVID alert system. Most of the attention focused on funding to help pay for additional business support measures – such as ...