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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 nature of low income in the UK has changed radically. The problem of low pay for those in work is increasingly dominating the domestic policy agenda. To mark the end of a programme of research funded by the Joseph Rowntree Foundation, we are setting out and discussing the latest evidence on ...
Observation
The UK has over 1100 tax reliefs and according to HMRC, we forego over £400bn of revenue each year as a result of reliefs. In this observation, Helen Miller, Associate Director at IFS, sets out some of the issues.
Observation
Robert Joyce and Barra Roantree
Debates about welfare policy often discuss benefit recipients as though they are a fixed, relatively small group of people. In reality, people’s circumstances fluctuate frequently over their lifetimes, often dramatically and in ways that matter hugely for entitlements to benefits. People’s ...
Observation
Will Brexit mean more money for the NHS?
Observation
We often think of exports and imports as things made in one country and consumed in another – I export cars to you and import socks you’ve made. In fact the majority of UK exports and imports are now made up of goods or services which are themselves inputs into production. I export engines to ...
Observation
The minimum wage is rising rapidly. In 2015 4% of employees aged 25 and over were on the minimum; this is set to reach 12% by 2020. New analysis published by IFS shows that those being brought within the minimum wage net are in different sorts of jobs from those who have been on the minimum ...
Observation
The Department for Work and Pensions today published the recommendations of its review into automatic enrolment. This focussed on issues around membership of, contributions to, and engagement with, workplace pensions. This observation looks at two specific measures – both of which are likely to ...
Observation
7 key charts ahead of the Chancellor's Autumn Budget
Observation
The basic question of whether our tax system is fair is at the heart of many of our public debates. Discussions of whether ‘the rich’ or companies are paying their ‘fair share’ is regularly in, or underlying, the news headlines. These are important questions. If we want to ensure that we ...
Observation
Andrew Hood and Tom Waters
This morning the Office for National Statistics announced that the inflation figure for the year to September.
Observation
Last week, the Secretary of State for Education announced arrangements for school funding in England in 2018–19 and 2019–20. This confirmed additional annual funding of around £900m by 2019–20 (as compared with pre-election plans) and announced the amended plans for the national funding ...
Observation
In this observation IFS researchers analyse how much it would really cost to write-off student debt.
Observation
James Browne and David Phillips
This Briefing Note presents new analysis of how high income taxpayers respond to changes in income tax rates. The Note is based on three new Working Papers, funded by the Nuffield Foundation, the Economic and Social Research Council and the European Research Council.
Observation
This Briefing Note presents new analysis of how high income taxpayers respond to changes in income tax rates. The Note is based on three new Working Papers, funded by the Nuffield Foundation, the Economic and Social Research Council and the European Research Council.
Observation
Following seven years of spending cuts following the financial crisis and associated record deficit, there is a growing call for the government to “end austerity”. Yet current plans imply more spending cuts as the government looks to reduce the deficit further. This observation – and an ...
Observation
The government has recently consulted on the structure of alcohol taxes. This consultation focuses on two issues: (i) the introduction of a new still cider and perry band that would increase the tax on products below 7.5% ABV, and (ii) the introduction of a new still wine band that would reduce the ...
Observation
In this observation, we examine the main parties’ proposals for spending on 16-18 education in England, which includes students in School Sixth Forms, Sixth Form Colleges and Further Education Colleges. This area of education receives considerably less attention in public debate than other areas ...
Observation
The Conservative, Labour and Liberal Democrat manifestos all contained commitments to increase NHS spending over the next parliament. In this observation we set out what these commitments are likely to mean for the path of health spending in England going forwards, and put this in the context of ...
Observation
On 30 May the SNP published their manifesto for the upcoming UK parliamentary elections. In it they set out a target of balancing the current budget by 2021–22 and plans for an increase in public spending over the next five years of around £120 billion relative to those set out in the March ...
Observation
In this observation, we detail what the commitments outlined in the Conservative, Labour and Liberal Democrat manifestos on education spending would mean for the path of overall school spending in England and the prospects for continued reform of the school funding system.