Nick versus Nigel: live analysis

Carl Miller introduces our live analysis of the BBC's debate between Nick Clegg and Nigel Farage.

‘Nick Clegg tells interviewer he need a coffee’ Tweeted the BBC’s Norman Smith this morning, ‘At 9.15. 9.15 ??? Wakey, wakey’. Perhaps he didn’t sleep well, and who can blame him? Both he and Nigel Farage woke up to face – whatever their bravado – a prospect that even the most veteran politician dreads: a live, prime-time, televised debate. At 7pm on BBC2 this evening, they will both face an hour in the full glare of the public. They...

Posted by Carl Miller on 02 Apr 2014
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The true cost of debt

Jo Salter unveils the Demos 'Harm Index' highlighting the emotional impact of debt.

£1.4 trillion. That’s the staggering figure attributed to the level of household debt in the UK. The average student now leaves university after three years with £20,000 worth of debt – before they have even got their foot on the first rung of the career ladder. But describing debt in numbers alone overlooks the fact that there is nothing intrinsic to having a lot of debt that makes it harmful – and debts like mortgages and student loans highlight the limitation...

Posted by Jo Salter on 26 Mar 2014
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Pensions puzzle

Duncan O'Leary untangles George Osborne's pensions announcement and examines the case for and against.

The pension reforms announced by George Osborne were unquestionably the most significant aspect of the budget. After a few days, some of their implications are starting to emerge. The chancellor framed the changes as a question of freedom. As he put it: ‘The tax rules around these pensions are a manifestation of a patronising view that pensioners can’t be trusted with their own pension pots. I reject that. People who have worked hard and saved hard all their lives, and done th...

Posted by Duncan O'Leary on 24 Mar 2014
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Tweeting the ballot

Richard Norrie reports on the latest findings into how social media can increase electoral turnout.

Barack Obama famously pioneered the use of social media as a campaign tool, to great effect. Demos is currently running a project to teach European third-sector organisations how to better use social media in order to improve turnout among under-represented groups. So far we’ve found that the potential for social media to mobilise voters is there, but to date this has not been realised at European elections. We are confident that this year is going to be Europe’s social media mom...

Posted by Richard Norrie on 20 Mar 2014
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The bingo Budget

Rob Macpherson: will it be the Sun that wins it for the Conservatives in 2015?

The bunny budget quickly became the bingo budget. When Grant Shapps tweeted CCHQ’s latest viral poster saying beer and bingo was what hardworking people enjoy it was quickly pounced upon by opponents and derided on Twitter as patronising and out of touch. But maybe George Osborne knows what he is doing. The Sun was unequivocal in its support for the Chancellor on this morning’s front page. ‘Win-go’ they splashed – declaring it a ‘budget for Sun readers&rsq...

Posted by Rob Macpherson on 20 Mar 2014
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Budget 2014: taxing debates

The Chancellor should focus on rewarding work by taxing wealth, argues Jonathan Todd.

Conservative MP Nick de Bois is half right. He's right that the ‘squeezed middle’ is further squeezed by income tax thresholds that have not kept pace with changes in wages and prices. He's wrong – like most politicians – to think that any update should not also apply to council tax. As much as perverse outcomes follow from the threshold for the 40p income tax rate remaining at the same level as when it was first introduced in 1988, it's also curious and d...

Posted by Jonathan Todd on 17 Mar 2014
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The Twitter effect

Alex Krasodomski-Jones on what #Duggan teaches us about how social media and the real world interact.

Since the first Tweet was sent in 2006, Twitter has become the mouthpiece of almost 650 million users: a sizeable digital chorus with eyes and ears all over the world, providing a running commentary on almost any topic conceivable. These users have, through weight of numbers alone, qualitatively changed the nature of social media. Every event now comes with a swarming cloud of Twitter comments and reports, which often is significant enough to impact – or even initiate – events fa...

Posted by Alex Krasodomski-Jones on 13 Mar 2014
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GDP growth continues but more apprentices needed

As the recovery continues, Jonathan Todd asks how to make it work for apprentices?

Yesterday, the ONS maintained its preliminary estimate of GDP growth for the last quarter of 2013 at 0.7 per cent. This seems to confirm that the economy is now in recovery phase. However, as David Kern, chief economist at the British Chambers of Commerce (BCC), noted, it is now important to improve the quality of Britain’s recovery. Britain’s manufacturing sector did not grow as fast as first thought in the last three months of 2013. The makers who are on the march are builders....

Posted by Jonathan Todd on 26 Feb 2014
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Should welfare be a ‘moral mission’?

Claudia Wood calls for welfare reform based on a grasp of what works, not a crusade.

I was asked today to comment on the unfolding dispute between the Archbishop of Westminster and David Cameron regarding the 'morality' of welfare reform. The Archbishop made the point that while the case for reforming welfare was sound, the way it had been implemented had led to unintended consequences which meant people were facing destitution – an outrage in such a wealthy country. He was no doubt referring to the hundreds of thousands of people affected by benefit sanct...

Posted by Claudia Wood on 19 Feb 2014
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Bottom-up public services

Ally Paget reacts to Ed Miliband's plans to give more power to public service users.

Yesterday, Ed Miliband set out his party’s vision for a more responsive, more accountable state. While he acknowledged the need for further cuts, it is also highly encouraging to see Labour committing to public services designed from the bottom up as the key to saving costs in the long run. It’s heartening, too, to see Miliband building on the ‘choice and competition’ agenda which, though a watchword of the Coalition’s reforms, also underpinned the previous Labo...

Posted by Ally Paget on 11 Feb 2014
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