Follow us
Publications Commentary Research People Events News Resources and Videos About IFS
Home Publications Observation

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
Reducing socio-economic gaps in education outcomes has been at the heart of government strategy to raise social mobility for many years. Achieving higher educational qualifications enables individuals to earn more, on average, so if those from poorer backgrounds are less likely to attain these ...
Observation
Last month, researchers at the Institute for Fiscal Studies launched first paper the from a new programme on local government finance. This paper looked at a range of issues including, changes in councils’ spending and revenues over the last seven years, and issues related to the evolving English ...
Observation
A special issue of Fiscal Studies published today looks at patterns of individual level health spending across a range of countries, and finds some important similarities. It shows how health spending is concentrated in the last years of life, how significantly more is spent on the poor than on the ...
Observation
This morning the Office for National Statistics announced that CPI inflation rose to 0.9% in the year to October, down from an inflation rate of 1.0% in the year to September but still substantially up from 0.6% in the year to August. The Bank of England expect inflation to rise further, to 2.4% in ...
Observation
Andrew Hood and Robert Joyce
A lower cap on the total amount of benefits that households can receive comes into force tomorrow, affecting four times as many households as the previous benefit cap. Like the previous cap it will apply to out-of-work households of working age (with some exemptions, mainly due to disability). The ...
Observation
New IFS research finds that providing school breakfasts free to all children in disadvantaged English primary schools helps pupils to make two months’ additional progress over the course of a year. These gains seem to be driven by better behaviour and concentration in the classroom, meaning that ...
Observation
Carl Emmerson, Andrew Hood and Tom Waters
This morning the Office for National Statistics announced that inflation, as measured by the CPI, was 0.9% in the year to September. This is only slightly higher than the 0.6% the Office for Budget Responsibility forecast in the March Budget. But since then many forecasters – including the Bank ...
Observation
The results of the latest business rates revaluation reveal a growing divergence in property prices between London and the rest of the country. Increases in the value of non-residential property in the capital are set to raise rates bills by 11%, on average, increasing the tax take by over £700 ...
Observation
Today, the Secretary of State for Education is due to outline proposals that would allow an expansion of grammar schools across England. This could represent a significant shift in the education system in England. As ever there would be costs and benefits to such a change. It does appear that those ...
Observation
Today the Scottish Government released the latest version of Government Expenditure and Revenue Scotland (GERS) covering 2015–16. In this observation we discuss what we can learn about Scotland’s fiscal position from these figures. The main finding is that further declines in revenues and ...
Observation
Andrew Hood and Robert Joyce
The 2016 Budget included a policy designed to help low-income working families, known as ‘Help to Save’. This observation examines whether the policy is likely to help those who are not currently saving enough and to encourage them to save more, or is instead an opportunity for those who ...
Observation
We set out the empirical results and policy implications of new research, which was undertaken in partnership with Lambeth Council and supported with funding from the ESRC.
Observation
Andrew Hood, Robert Joyce and Jonathan Cribb
Median household income in the UK rose by 3% in 2014–15 after adjusting for inflation. This was the fastest rise in average incomes since the early 2000s, finally taking median income 1% above its previous peak, and was accompanied by income growth right across the distribution. These are the ...
Observation
Jagjit Chadha, Paul Johnson and John Van Reenen
The possible economic consequences of leaving the EU have naturally been a central focus of the referendum campaign. As June 23 draws near we bring together the conclusions from our research on the likely consequences, and reflect on some of the claims made.
Observation
The Great Recession triggered the two largest annual falls in real government receipts since at least 1956. Yet, by the end of the decade, tax receipts as a share of national income are due to return to almost their pre-recession level. But, beneath this apparent stability in the overall tax take, ...
Observation
A special issue of Fiscal Studies launched today shows how wealth is concentrated among a small number of households, and is much more concentrated than incomes. Younger generations are on course to have less wealth at each point in life than earlier generations and inheritances do little to even ...
Observation
James Browne, Paul Johnson and David Phillips
In a new report out today IFS researchers provide an explanation of how the EU budget works, its size, where revenues come from and what the main areas of spending are. They also provide an estimate of the UK’s net contributions to the EU. The overall net contribution will be a little over £8 ...
Observation
Rowena Crawford and Gemma Tetlow
April 6th marks the first day of the new state pension: everyone reaching state pension age after today will accrue entitlement to, and claim, a state pension under the new rules. Legislated for by the coalition government in 2013, this is the most radical overhaul of state pension policy in the UK ...
Observation
In Budget 2016 the Chancellor announced a “soft drinks industry levy” due to take effect from April 2018. The charge will be levied on soft drinks that contain added sugar and is aimed at “help[ing] tackle childhood obesity.” It has followed calls from various bodies for intervention to ...
Observation
The Scottish Government’s Government Expenditure and Revenue Scotland (GERS) estimates the overall levels of government revenues and spending in Scotland and the implicit budget deficit or surplus in the previous year. With a new version of GERS reporting figures for 2014-15 and new UK-wide ...