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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
Now is not the time to raise taxes; the economy is still weak and the recovery only just starting. But that time will likely come.
Observation
From today, the first 18-year-olds will be able to access Child Trust Funds (CTFs) set up over a decade ago by Tony Blair’s Labour government. When first announcing the policy, the government pointed to the fact that ‘people without assets are much more likely to have lower earnings and higher ...
Observation
Today’s Government Expenditure and Revenue Scotland (GERS) figures show Scotland’s implicit budget deficit increasing to 8.6% of GDP in 2019-20, around 6 percentage points higher than the UK as a whole, largely reflecting higher government spending. The Covid-19 crisis means that figures for ...
Observation
In this observation, we use data from an online survey of parents with school-aged children – funded by the Nuffield Foundation and collected during June and July 2020 – to document the patchwork of in-person schooling that children had before the summer. We also explore parents’ concerns ...
Observation
On Monday, the government performed a dramatic U-turn on how A Level grades are assigned to students this year. The most pressing issue now is what will happen to university places.
Observation
Prior to the crisis there was no gap in the average amount of time spent learning between children from better and worse off families, but during the lockdown a sizeable gap emerged.
Observation
Reports suggest that the government is planning on introducing new measures to tackle obesity, including a ban on television advertising of food and drink products that are high in fat, sugar or salt before the 9pm watershed.
Observation
Recent decades have seen rising wealth-to-income ratios. In England, increases in wealth have been concentrated among older generations. Those born in the 1980s have accumulated no more wealth than those born in the 1970s had done by the same age, but the parents of those born in the 1980s hold 40% ...
Observation
A lack of transparency over where spending is expected to be lower is contributing to confusion about the overall scale of fiscal support being provided to address coronavirus, as well as the amount that the devolved governments in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland should receive to fund their ...
Observation
This morning, the ONS published its monthly public finance release for April, giving us an initial snapshot of the public finances under lockdown. It throws the enormous impact of the restrictions on the public finances into sharp relief.