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
Andrew Hood
You might have a different set of objectives when choosing how to uprate the state pension, and different objectives could lead to different choices. But whatever your objectives, neither the triple lock nor the double lock is the right answer.
Observation
You might have a different set of objectives when choosing how to uprate the state pension, and different objectives could lead to different choices. But whatever your objectives, neither the triple lock nor the double lock is the right answer.
Observation
From tomorrow, Scottish residents will for the first time be subject to a different income tax schedule from those resident elsewhere in the UK. This is because of the Scottish parliament’s decision to use recently devolved powers over income tax bands and rates for non-savings and non-dividend ...
Observation
Andrew Hood, Agnes Norris Keiller and Tom Waters
Next week will see the introduction of significant cuts to the generosity of two parts of the working-age benefits system. These will affect some new recipients of employment and support allowance, and any family receiving tax credits or universal credit who has either a newly born first child or a ...
Observation
On Monday, the House of Lords will debate recent changes to Personal Independence Payment (PIP) regulations. These changes are expected to save the government £910 million per year by 2021–22 by reversing the impact of two recent tribunal judgements on the criteria for receiving PIP. Important ...
Observation
On Tuesday afternoon MPs in the House of Commons will debate the recent report by the Work and Pensions Select Committee on “intergenerational fairness”. This argued that triple lock indexation of the state pension should not continue beyond 2020 and pointed out that, for a given amount of ...
Observation
Funding for adult social care is currently a hot topic. The number of older individuals is forecast to increase sharply over the next two decades. However, the extent to which this places pressure on social care budgets could potentially be offset by reductions in the needs of older people over ...
Observation
In yesterday’s English Provisional Local Government Finance Settlement, the government announced councils will be able to set a ‘Social Care Precept’ of 3% a year over the next two years, rather than the 2% a year previously planned, to raise additional funds for adult social care. We ...
Observation
In Budget 2016 the Chancellor announced a ‘soft drinks industry levy’ that aims to reduce consumption of sugar sweetened soft drinks. The levy is due to take effect from April 2018 with two rates, one applying to mid-sugar drinks (with 5-8 grams of sugar per 100 millilitres) and a higher rate ...
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 ...