Friday, 27 November 2015

Migration boosts Budget review

Annual net migration to Britain in June hit a record high of 336,000, according to the ONS. In total, 636,000 immigrants arrived in the year to June. The OBR indicated that population growth fuelled by migration and foreign workers' contribution to the economy was a major factor in boosting the Chancellor’s revised five-year forecast. ONS data showed 75% of new jobs in the last year went to foreigners. However, the NI number count showed the amount of registered foreigners was up by 29% on the previous year. Alp Mehmet of Migration Watch UK said: “If these numbers continue the pressure on our infrastructure will intensify.”

The Guardian

Nurseries "will struggle" to offer extra free childcare

Many nurseries in England will struggle to provide 30 hours of free pre-school childcare, despite the promise of an extra £1bn, the Pre-School Learning Alliance has said. In April 2017, the hourly rates paid by government will be raised to £4.88 per three- and four-year-old child for private, independent and voluntary providers and to £5.39 for state providers, but the Family and Childcare Trust has pointed out that 30 local authorities already pay their providers more than this.

Think tanks on welfare reforms

The Resolution Foundation and The Institute of Fiscal Studies say that under Universal Credit, 2.6m working families will be about £1,600 a year worse off than they would have been under tax credits. Individuals currently on tax credits transferred to Universal Credit will not see their cash payments drop because they will be offered transitional protections. The Treasury said it was "not legitimate" to compare the payments received by a new claimant under the Universal Credit system with the amount the same person would receive under the current system. IFS director Paul Johnson explained: "The long-term generosity of the welfare system will be cut just as much as ever intended as new claimants will receive significantly lower benefits than they would have done before the July changes.”

IFS: Council tax levy spending “impossible” to check

The Institute for Fiscal Studies warns that it would be "impossible" for the government to check if the money raised by councils hiking their council tax under new powers is being spent on social care, as intended by the Chancellor. It also warned that wealthier areas such as Richmond, Windsor and Cheshire East can raise enough money to cover up to 17.6% of their care budgets, while those that charge significantly less for council tax, including several London boroughs, Manchester, Newcastle and Liverpool will see the levy raise as little as 4.2% of their social care bill. "The changes to local government financing and devolution are genuinely radical and could transform both the role of local government and the UK's fiscal architecture," IFS director Paul Johnson added.