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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
The SNP’s manifesto offers big gains to a number of targeted groups in Scotland - but would involve difficult trade-offs in a tight budgetary environment.
Observation
Tomorrow marks the 30th anniversary of the property valuations used for council tax rates, meaning that the amount of council tax you pay is dependent upon what your home was worth 30 years ago. This has arbitrary and unfair consequences: two homes that are today worth the same amount can pay ...
Observation
Today, the Department for Work and Pensions released the latest official statistics on household incomes, poverty, and income inequality. This observation looks at the key findings from those statistics.
Observation
The COVID-19 crisis has both created billions of pounds of new costs for and demands on councils’ budgets and has hit many of their sources of income. We find that across the sector as a whole, the government has largely addressed forecast pressures in 2020-21. However, financial pressures have ...
Observation
The March Budget was not short of spending announcements. The Chancellor extended some £65 billion of support for households and businesses into the coming financial year, including high-profile extensions to the furlough scheme, self-employment income support scheme, and the £20 a week uplift to ...
Observation
By the time the pandemic is over, most children across the UK will have missed over half a year of normal, in person schooling.
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.