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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
This morning, the ONS published its monthly public finance release for April, giving us an initial snapshot of the public finances under lockdown. It throws the enormous impact of the restrictions on the public finances into sharp relief.
Observation
Automatic enrolment has been hugely successful, such that over 90% of eligible private sector workers are now members of workplace pension schemes.
Observation
On Tuesday (12 May 2020) the Chancellor, Rishi Sunak, announced an extension to the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme (CJRS), which covers 80% of employees’ usual salaries, up to a cap of £2,500 a month, while they are furloughed.
Observation
The coronavirus outbreak and associated containment measures have caused huge economic fallout across the world. The sharp decline in economic activity that is now occurring will depress government revenues and push up public spending. In addition, governments have, appropriately, responded with ...
Observation
The fall in stock markets has reduced the wealth of those who directly hold shares and of those with defined contribution pension pots that are invested in equities.
Observation
UK households hold around £230bn of unsecured or consumer debt – including loans, credit card debt, hire purchase agreements and overdrafts. This equates to an average £8,000 per household. The bulk of that debt is held by those on relatively high incomes and in normal times its repayment tends ...
Observation
One group which is going to find the next months and years especially difficult are those entering the labour market this year. Experience from previous recessions tells us that graduates will be less likely to find work and will start off in lower-paying occupations than they might have expected. ...
Observation
The spread of COVID-19 has led to sweeping changes in the way households work, spend their time and shop. This has led to large changes in spending patterns and, in some cases, rapid price changes. How will changes such as these be reflected in headline inflation measures such as the Consumer ...
Observation
On the eve of the economic crisis caused by the public health response to coronavirus, around 76,000 working-age families were subject to the benefit cap. The cap means that most of these families, and some of those who have since lost employment during the crisis won’t benefit at all from the ...
Observation
An important part of the UK policy response to the COVID-19 pandemic has been to try to help ensure key workers with children have access to sufficient childcare. Children of key workers are allowed to continue attending school and childcare settings, and both schools and early years providers are ...