Monthly Archives: February 2013

Kate Allen

As my colleague Norma Cohen has revealed, 72 is the new 30 according to scientists. And some data on conception rates in the UK shows that this increasing longevity has a particular effect on women’s lives.

Conception rates among older women have soared in the past 20 years, while those of younger women have declined, according to figures released by the Office for National Statistics today. All age groups of 30 and above have increased, but the biggest rise is among the over-40s, where conception rates have more than doubled. By contrast the conception rate among under 16s is now the lowest since 1969, the first year for which we have comparable data. Read more

Kate Allen

by Kate Allen and Hannah Kuchler

Food-related law enforcement, that’s how.

On the face of it, the UK has a fairly strict food hygiene and safety system. But the rapidly-widening horsemeat scandal has prompted questions about the effectiveness of the UK’s food law enforcement systems. And a look at performance data collected by the the Food Standards Agency shows a picture of falling sampling and lower staffing levels.

Explore how your area compares in our interactive map at the bottom of the post Read more

Kate Allen

Yesterday’s housebuilding data painted a bleak picture. Last year was the worst for housebuilding starts since 2009, which was itself pretty uniquely awful.

It’s worth emphasising this point – since 2009 housebuilding activity has been at the lowest levels since the second world war. Just look at this:

Housing completions England Read more

Valentina Romei

Following on from 10 charts (part 1), which included the first five challenges facing the next Italian government, here are the next five as we head towards Italy’s general election.

1) Corruption

Corruption is a plight for the country that together with bureaucracy prevents an efficient allocation of resources and discourages investment. Transparency International’s Corruption Perceptions Index ranked Italy 72nd out of 182 countries evaluated in 2012, three positions lower than the previous year. The perception of corruption of Italians is particularly high for the political system, which is one of the main reasons for the country’s political instability and poor governability.

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Italy goes to the polls on February 24 and 25, after Mario Monti, the country’s technocratic prime minister, announced his resignation in December. He is attempting to safeguard his legacy by standing as a campaigning politician, but Mr Monti faces strong competition.

This interactive graphic shows Italy’s economic standing and its regional disparities and what the newly elected government will have to grapple with once it comes to power.

Valentina Romei

Italian general elections on February 24 and 25 will determine the members of the Chamber of Deputies and of the Senate, the two houses of its parliament. This new parliament will face various structural factors behind the country’s weak performance.

Here is the first instalment of the country’s top challenges in 10 charts – another five are set to follow later in the week, so stay tuned.

1) Stagnant economy in the past decade

The Italian gross domestic product is lower than at the beginning of 2001 and the decline does not show signs of reversing. Even Spain and Greece with their deep economic contraction during the crisis are better off than at their levels at the start of the last decade thanks to their strong growth performance before 2008. Italy had sluggish growth even in the first half of the past decade and the additional output that has been created was totally wiped out with the crisis.

 Read more