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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
If the pattern observed in the first ten months of the financial year continues for the next two, government borrowing will be £44 billion this year. This would be £3.5 billion lower than implied by the OBR’s restated March 2019 forecast. But it is worth recalling that just four years ago, in ...
Observation
The national Accident and Emergency (A&E) four-hour waiting time target is once again in the news headlines. Performance against this recently fell to the lowest since records began, with only 79.8% of patients in December 2019 admitted, discharged or transferred to another hospital within 4 hours ...
Observation
In their manifestos, both the Labour party and the Liberal Democrats have promised to extend free school meals to more children. The Labour party would introduce free school meals for all children in primary schools, while the Liberal Democrats would offer them to all secondary-school pupils whose ...
Observation
What are the main parties’ spending proposals for young people in further education and sixth forms, and for adult education? To what extent will they reverse the cuts we’ve seen to date?
Observation
Local government funding is rarely a major battleground in election campaigns. This ‘rule’ appears to be holding in the current campaign, despite evident pressures in areas like adults’ and children’s social care services, following a decade of cuts to councils’ funding.  This ...
Observation
Here we outline an initial response from IFS researchers on the Conservative party manifesto. We take policy areas by turn but this is not a full assessment.
Observation
Below we outline an initial response from IFS researchers on the Labour manifesto. We take policy areas by turn but this is not a full assessment.
Observation
The Liberal Democrats’ manifesto, published today, puts childcare front and centre. The party is promising to spend – on its own costing - £13 billion on free childcare in 2024 (plus another £1 billion on Sure Start children’s centres). That’s almost £12 billion of free childcare ...
Observation
Below we outline an initial response from IFS researchers on the Liberal Democrat manifesto. We take a number of policy areas by turn but this is not a full assessment.
Observation
Boris Johnson has announced that he would raise the threshold for paying National Insurance contributions (NICs) on earnings to £9,500 in the first Budget of a Conservative government. Currently 12% NICs is payable on earnings over £8,632 per year, set to rise with inflation to £8,788 in ...

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Journal article | Fiscal Studies - Special Issue: 50th Anniversary of IFS
Journal article | Fiscal Studies - Special Issue: 50th Anniversary of IFS
Journal article | Fiscal Studies - Special Issue: 50th Anniversary of IFS
Journal article | Fiscal Studies - Special Issue: 50th Anniversary of IFS