Productivity is a low pay issue too

When politicians talk about the need to raise economic productivity, its often in the context of infrastructure investment and boosting high productivity sectors (finance, engineering, biotech etc). However our low pay sectors are so large that productivity improvements there could not only have macroeconomic consequences but do a lot for other policy objectives such as poverty alleviation. I’m delighted that my recent research report on these issues for the Joseph Rowntree Foundation is picked up in today’s Guardian.

Government debt keeps on rising…

I’ve been keeping a little spreadsheet of official UK public debt forecasts since 2010 (I know, sad life etc….). Here’s the chart that brings it all together and shows that whereas in 2010 debt was expected to peak at 70% of GDP in 2013-14 as the effects of the financial crisis worked their way through, in fact that never happened and it kept on rising.

Yesterday’s data instead shows debt is now expected to peak at a massive 90% in 2017-18. Here’s the picture – each line represents the forecast made at that particular budget or autumn statement.

Class action: where are the divisions in the British class system today?

I wrote a piece for Progress magazine that attempts to answer the question – if he were writing today, what would Tony Crosland pick out as the determinants of class in British society? It draws on some great work by the LSE and also an analysis we did on the UK’s wealth distribution recently. Once we understand how society is structured, we can consider the policy implications.  Here’s the link.