The precarious success of the national minimum wage

The UK minimum wage has been a great success story since its introduction in 1999. Twenty years on, it is at risk of becoming overly politicised in a growing arms race between the two main parties, both eager to claim the credit for boosting the earnings of millions of low-paid workers across Britain.


This piece was first published by Prospect here


Past, Present and Future of Immigration

Immigration was one of the main issues around the UK’s decision to leave the EU. The outcome of the General Election is likely to determine the design of a future immigration system, with party proposals ranging from the introduction of a post-Brexit “Australian-style” points system, to continuing free movement within the EU. This briefing focuses on:

UK Trade and Trade Policy after Brexit

International trade plays a crucial role in fostering economic growth across a wide range of industries at the national and the regional level. The prospects for UK’s international trade are closely tied to the future relationship between the UK and the EU. Voters are being offered a wide spectrum of choices, ranging from continued membership to the EU, a customs union-type relationship by the Labour party, a looser arrangement under a free trade agreement with the governing Conservative party, and a clean break with trade on WTO terms with the Brexit party.

The Economic Backdrop

This briefing focuses on:

  • The state of the UK economy and UK-wide living standards going into the election.
  • The causes of slow growth and the need for supply-side reforms.


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Places and Spaces: Mapping Britain's Regional Divides

Economic performance varies widely across towns, cities and rural areas in the UK. Spatial disparities are found in all industrialised countries, although on some measures the UK is significantly more unequal than comparable countries. These disparities are matter for people because local social and economic conditions directly affect individual living standards. In fact, research shows clearly that where you are born has a large effect on your opportunities in life.

Where is the money coming from?

The main political parties have meticulously set out costings of their spending plans for the next Parliament and how they would finance them if elected.  This briefing focuses on:

  • The fiscal rules adopted by the political parties.
  • The underlying fiscal position and how it has changed since the last Office for Budget Responsibility (OBR) forecast was published in March.
  • The fiscal outlook on the basis of each of the political parties’ plans.
  • The credibility of the fiscal plans.