Questions and answers about
the UK economy.

New PostInequality & poverty

Is the UK a meritocracy?

Many Britons believe that success is based on merit. But evidence shows that family background and economic circumstances play a key role in individuals’ opportunities to move up the social ladder. Underestimating the importance of these factors can reinforce existing inequalities.

Talking Economics

Our annual conference is taking place in Bristol from 17-19 November 2021. Click here to find out more.

Health, physical & mental

Update: How is the Covid-19 crisis affecting the NHS?

The pandemic has put the NHS under immense pressure: a surge in Covid-19-related care was initially accompanied by a reduction in demand and supply of other services. Waiting lists have now reached record levels; and demand for private healthcare may grow.


#TalkingEconomics: How should we tackle the big post-pandemic challenges?

Soumaya Keynes reports on the final day of discussions at Talking Economics and the Bristol Festival of Economics. Topics included what to do about the gender pay gap, rising inflation, learning losses among the young, and climate change.


#TalkingEconomics: what are the legacies of the Covid-19 crisis?

Bethan Staton reflects on some of the conversations at the first edition of Talking Economics, an event developed in partnership between the Economics Observatory and the long-running festival of economics at Bristol Ideas.

Data Hub

Live and interactive charts and visualisations, making sense of the latest numbers

Aid & international development

What will be the likely effects of reducing the UK’s aid budget?

Reductions in official development assistance inevitably involve choices – for example, between protecting future biodiversity and feeding children in today’s humanitarian crises. But the real loss from aid cuts is UK leadership on global responses to poverty, Covid-19 and climate change.

Families & households

Did food hardship increase during the pandemic?

The number of households experiencing uncertainty about secure access to food rose dramatically during the pandemic in both the United States and the UK. The crisis has exposed severe inequalities in ‘food hardship’ across race and class in both countries.

Energy & climate change

How can we make green growth fair?

Environmental policies like carbon taxes can hurt poor households and small businesses. Careful policy design can transform a trade-off into a double dividend.

All Answers