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Keeping up or Falling behind? The Impact of Benefit and Tax Uprating on Incomes and Poverty

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  • Holly Sutherland
  • Ruth Hancock
  • John Hills
  • Francesca Zantomio

Abstract

Each year, the Government decides how much to raise benefits and tax allowances. In the UK the basis for these upratings is rarely debated, yet has major long-term consequences for the relative living standards of different groups as well as for the public finances. This paper considers the medium term implications of present uprating policies which vary across parameters of the tax-benefit system. Continuing for 20 years, other things staying the same, would result in a near doubling of the child poverty rate alongside a substantial gain to the public finances. At the same time pensioners are largely protected by the earnings indexation of pensioner benefits and, in time, the basic state pension. We show how difficult it will be to meet the UK child poverty targets unless the greater inequality inherent in the current regime for uprating payments and allowances is redressed.
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Suggested Citation

  • Holly Sutherland & Ruth Hancock & John Hills & Francesca Zantomio, 2008. "Keeping up or Falling behind? The Impact of Benefit and Tax Uprating on Incomes and Poverty," Fiscal Studies, Institute for Fiscal Studies, vol. 29(4), pages 467-498, December.
  • Handle: RePEc:ifs:fistud:v:29:y:2008:i:4:p:467-498
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    File URL: http://www.blackwell-synergy.com/doi/abs/10.1111/j.1475-5890.2008.00082.x
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    Cited by:

    1. Bargain, Olivier & Dolls, Mathias & Immervoll, Herwig & Neumann, Dirk & Peichl, Andreas & Pestel, Nico & Siegloch, Sebastian, 2011. "Tax Policy and Income Inequality in the U.S., 1978-2009: A Decomposition Approach," IZA Discussion Papers 5910, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
    2. Maciej Bukowski & Sonia Buchholtz & Piotr Lewandowski & Pawel Chrostek & Agnieszka Kaminska & Maciej Lis & Monika Potoczna & Michal Myck & Michal Kundera & Monika Oczkowska, 2013. "Employment in Poland 2011. Poverty and Jobs," Books and Reports published by IBS, Instytut Badan Strukturalnych, number zwp2011 edited by Maciej Bukowski & Iga Magda.
      • Magda, Iga & Bukowski, Maciej & Buchholz, Sonia & Lewandowski, Piotr & Chrostek, Paweł & Kamińska, Agnieszka & Lis, Maciej & Potoczna, Monika & Myck, Michał & Kundera, Michał & Oczkowska, Monika, 2013. "Employment in Poland 2011 - Poverty and jobs," MPRA Paper 50185, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    3. Hills, John, 2013. "Labour's record on cash transfers, poverty, inequality and the lifecycle 1997 - 2010," LSE Research Online Documents on Economics 58082, London School of Economics and Political Science, LSE Library.
    4. John Hills, 2013. "Labour's Record on Cash Transfers, Poverty, Inequality and the Lifecycle 1997 - 2010," CASE Papers case175, Centre for Analysis of Social Exclusion, LSE.
    5. De Agostini, Paola & Hills, John & Sutherland, Holly, 2015. "Were we really all in it together? The distributional effects of the 2010-2015 UK Coalition government's tax-benefit policy changes: an end-of-term update," EUROMOD Working Papers EM13/15, EUROMOD at the Institute for Social and Economic Research.
    6. Figari, Francesco & Matsaganis, Manos & Sutherland, Holly, 2011. "The financial well-being of older people in Europe and the redistributive effects of minimum pension schemes," EUROMOD Working Papers EM7/11, EUROMOD at the Institute for Social and Economic Research.
    7. Chrysa Leventi & Holly Sutherland & Iva Valentinova Tasseva, 2016. "Improving poverty reduction in Europe: what works (best) where?," ImPRovE Working Papers 16/16, Herman Deleeck Centre for Social Policy, University of Antwerp.
    8. John Hills & Alari Paulus & Holly Sutherland & Iva Tasseva, 2014. "A lost decade? Decomposing the effect of 2001-11 tax-benefit policy changes on the income distribution in EU countries," ImPRovE Working Papers 14/03, Herman Deleeck Centre for Social Policy, University of Antwerp.
    9. De Agostini, Paola & Paulus, Alari & Sutherland, Holly & Tasseva, Iva Valentinova, 2014. "The effect of tax-benefit changes on the income distribution in EU countries since the beginning of the economic crisis," EUROMOD Working Papers EM9/14, EUROMOD at the Institute for Social and Economic Research.

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