Tax credit cuts: the impact on families

Agnes Norris Keller 150.jpgAgnes Norris Keiller is a research economist at the Institute for Fiscal Studies and works in the Income, Work and Welfare sector. She currently works on projects related to the income distribution and the labour market.

Here she examines the changes to the tax credits system which are being introduced this month, and what the changes might mean for those receiving them in the future

The first week of April saw the introduction of significant cuts to the working-age benefits system.

The allocation of tax credits (and universal credit, which is replacing tax credits and three other working-age means-tested benefits) currently depends on the number of children in a family. Continue reading

The value of partnerships between academics and local councils

luke-sibieta-150Luke Sibieta is a Programme Director within the Education, Employment and Evaluation sector at the Institute for Fiscal Studies.

In this piece, he describes a collaboration between Lambeth Council and researchers from the IFS which proved informative for policymakers and of value to researchers.

Local councils in the UK have the potential to be a laboratory for testing policy ideas and interventions. In the US, individual states have frequently trialled different approaches to public service delivery, with successful examples taken up by other states. This process of policy trial and diffusion has been much less common in the UK, at least historically. Continue reading

Grammar lessons

Last year the government set out proposals to expand the number of grammar schools across England representing a significant shift in the education system. Such a change means costs and benefits, and there would be winners and losers writes Luke Sibieta, Programme Director of the Education and Skills sector at the Institute for Fiscal Studies.

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It does appear that those who attend grammar schools do, on average, somewhat better than similar children in the comprehensive system.

Grammar schools may thus be a way of improving the performance of very bright pupils. On the other hand, those in selective areas who don’t get into grammar schools do worse than they would in a comprehensive system. And as children from poorer families are significantly less likely to attend grammar schools, the expansion of grammar schools in the current form would seem more likely to reduce than increase social mobility. Continue reading

Getting off the rollercoaster

Gemma Tetlow is programme director of the Institute for Fiscal Studies’ (IFS) work on pensions, saving and public finances. Her research interests include pensions, savings, asset holding and health and their interactions with later life working. Her work also includes analysis of the UK’s public finances and public spending.

Gemma Tetlow

The recent Budget was the first of the new Parliament and the first by a Conservative government for nearly two decades. Following the pattern of all other general elections since 1987, the government announced a package of tax measures raising in excess of £5 billion a year. But there were also significant changes to public spending – with new cuts to social security spending but a reduction in the planned cuts to spending on public services. Overall the effect of the measures announced last week was to slow the pace of fiscal consolidation over the next three years but to increase the size of the eventual medium-term tightening. Continue reading