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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
New figures show that men tend to spend longer commuting to work than women. IFS analysis shows that this ‘gender commuting gap’ starts to widen after the birth of the first child in the family and continues to grow around a decade after that. This bears a striking resemblance to the evolution ...
Observation
Universities are a key determinant of the earnings power of graduates. But when considering the role universities play in determining the living standards and socially mobility of graduates, it is vital to incorporate the wider impacts of higher education on both other sources of income and ...
Observation
In a speech on Tuesday 9th October, the Secretary of State for International Development, Penny Mordaunt, touched upon a number of important issues taking centre stage in current debates on UK aid spending, including Brexit and the role of private sector investment. These two substantive issues are ...
Observation
Today the Social Metrics Commission has published its report on a new approach to poverty measurement in the UK. This observation summarises and discusses the work of the Commission and the conclusions that it reached.
Observation
The 2008 financial crisis precipitated what has proved to be a big and permanent hit to the size and structure of the UK economy. It affects our incomes and the tough choices we face today.
Observation
Today the Scottish Government released the latest version of Government Expenditure and Revenue Scotland (GERS) covering 2017–18. In this observation we discuss what we can learn about Scotland’s fiscal position from these figures. And we look beyond the headline deficit figures to look at the ...
Observation
Despite receiving 55% of A levels overall in 2018, girls received just 43% of A levels awarded in STEM subjects. Rachel Cassidy, Sarah Cattan and Claire Crawford explore what drives girls’ A level choices, including why they may or may not opt for maths or physics.
Observation
Governments are responsible for spending huge amounts of public money. Effective control of that spending is essential if governments are to meet their fiscal objectives, deliver their desired policy outcomes, and achieve value for money for the taxpayer. A new IFS report, published today as part ...
Observation
There is a current debate about whether the definition of self-employment should be aligned across tax and employment law. At present there is a rather complex situation – illustrated by a recent court case involving Pimlico Plumbers – in which an individual can be deemed a worker in employment ...
Observation
Yesterday, the Prime Minister announced a ‘70th Birthday present’ for the NHS, pledging average real annual increases of 3.4% per year for the next five years. One challenge for the Government is where the money to pay for this will come from. After social security spending, the NHS is the ...
Observation
Yesterday we heard the first details of a new five-year funding settlement for the NHS in England. It was announced NHS England funding would be slightly more than £20 billion higher in 2023-24 than in 2018–19 after adjusting for forecast economy-wide inflation over the period. This represents ...
Observation
Analysis of the SNP’s Sustainable Growth Commission’s proposals
Observation
Public spending on social care for older people in England has seen large cuts in recent years, falling by 21% between 2009–10 and 2015–16. This has led to growing concerns over the potential for adverse effects on other public services, and in particular the NHS.
Observation
Recent IFS work (joint with the Health Foundation) documented the considerable pressures on health and social care spending over the next fifteen years. In the near term, an announced funding settlement for the NHS covering the next few years may be on the horizon.
Observation
Recent IFS work (joint with the Health Foundation) documented the considerable pressures on health and social care spending over the next fifteen years. In the near term, an announced funding settlement for the NHS covering the next few years may be on the horizon.
Observation
For the new 2018–19 tax year, the Scottish higher-rate threshold has fallen further behind that in the UK, and two new income tax bands have been added in Scotland while the higher- and additional-rates have been increased. While most Scots will be either unaffected or pay slightly less in tax, ...
Observation
From tomorrow, a large proportion of private sector employees will pay more into their pensions – and their employers will have to contribute more too. This is the first of two planned steps in the next two years that will increase the minimum contributions that most employees and their employers ...
Observation
Organisations with 250 or more employees now have to provide statistics relating to the gender wage gap. The data that are available so far show the vast majority paying men, on average, more than women. The gender wage gap has barely fallen over the last fifteen years and greater understanding of ...
Observation
Tuesday’s Spring Statement may not contain any new policy measures, but it will contain the latest official economic and fiscal forecasts. These are likely to be for lower borrowing over the next five years than forecast in November. But that shouldn’t be great cause for celebration. The ...
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 ...