Labour leader Ed Miliband has said he will not enter a coalition with the Scottish Nationalists after the general election in May, despite 19 per cent of Labour voters favouring this option.

If you live in the UK, you have heard a lot about terrible wage growth over the past five years. You might also have heard that, in spite of the grim headline figures, median pay actually rose a pretty healthy 4.1 per cent in cash terms last year for people who stayed in the same job. Chancellor George Osborne is fond of that figure, since it helps him fend off claims the recovery hasn’t reached ordinary workers’ pay packets. Here’s the chart:

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This is a guest post by Liz Carolan, International Development Manager at the Open Data Institute

Literally translated Burkina Faso means “land of the upright people”. It has long been one of West Africa’s most stable countries, despite having one of world’s lowest GDPs and being surrounded by countries with serious security issues, like Mali and Nigeria.

In October 2014 Burkina Faso made its way onto TV screens around the world – a 36 hour popular uprising forced long-term leader Blaise Compaoré from office. An interim administration was put in place and the first elections for thirty years without Compaoré’s candidacy are planned for 11th October 2015.

And now the country hopes that open data and transparency will offer a stabilising force. It sees open data as a vehicle for distinguishing itself from the previous administration – open, transparent, and better at engaging with the public. Read more

 

The share of the EU’s energy consumption that comes from renewables reach 15 per cent in 2013 compared with 8.3 per cent in 2004. The Eu as a whole has a target to get 20 per cent of its energy from renewable sources by 2020

 

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2013 protest in Manchester against widening pay gap  © Getty

By David Oakley

Britain’s top 10 highest paid bosses earn more than a combined £100m in the most recent financial year. For these top earners, their £118.9m aggregate pay packet was 27 per cent higher than what they received in the previous year.

This – at a time when real household median incomes in the UK is only just returning to 2007-2008 levels – is likely to put executive pay firmly back into the spotlight as the UK general election approaches and shareholders gather at upcoming annual general meetings. Read more

Chris Giles

Choices matter when measuring living standards. When looking at Britain’s living standards since before the recession, you can legitimately say incomes are back to the pre-crisis levels or still 10 per cent below those levels.

This post explains how (and the choices the Institute for Fiscal Studies made in its report this morning).

It showed UK living standards were back to the pre-crisis level. The IFS is an extremely reputable research organisation*. It also noted that the recovery in living standards has been painfully slow since the recession and household living standards still have not reached the 2009-10 peak.

I will show in this blog that definitions of living standards really matter, as do the choice of inflation measure, the choice of time period and the choice of average. It is perfectly possible and reasonable to arrive at a conclusion that living standards are 10 per cent below the pre-recession level with the same data as IFS used. This does not mean the IFS is wrong, but it has made choices that reduce the measured drop in living standards.

This is the IFS chart. Read more

What would happen if the UK general election were held tomorrow? Our interactive graphic shows a projected redistribution of parliamentary seats based on the latest available polling data.

It is updated regularly from data published on electionforecast.co.uk, a website run by a team of researchers from the University of East Anglia, the London School of Economics and Durham University. Read more

Some have suggested the BBC should become like Netflix and fund itself through viewer subscriptions. If you were in charge, what TV channels and radio stations would you offer?

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Emily Cadman

Fancy yourself a fully paid up chart and data nerd? Well the Bank of England is looking for you.

To publicise the launch of a more open research agenda, the BoE is offering a £5,000 prize to the best data visualisation using one (or more) of six datasets it has added to its website.

Of course, potential entrants could be keeping their ideas top secret, but by far the dataset attracting most initial interest was the three centuries of macroeconomic research data, which makes a whole treasure trove of long run data – such as wages and prices from 1661 to 2012 – available to the general public.

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Since 1990, the proportion of women over 30 has been increasing — the rate for the over 40s has more than doubled. At the same time younger women are much less likely to become pregnant. Teenage pregnancy reached a record low in 2013

 

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In 1961, the average UK 20-something sat in the upper third of the income distribution after deducting housing costs, but the subsequent 50 years have seen a dramatic reversal in their fortunes. Explore the UK’s widening generation gap over income with this interactive graphic. Read more

 

 

Perhaps in light of 2013′s revelation that the NSA hacked their chancellor’s phone, Germans fear the misuse of their online personal data more than any other EU nationality

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Emily Cadman

Politicians of all hues will be looking more closely – and more nervously – than normal at the official public sector borrowing figures out this morning.

This is Chancellor George Osborne’s last chance to get a substantial tax bump in the public finances before the election to achieve the deficit reduction he’s put at the heart of his political programme.

So far this year the government has borrowed nearly the same as the previous one, despite strong economic growth. It is banking on getting a big boost from self-assessment taxes this month, which could give Mr Osborne considerably more room to manoeuvre at the Budget.

If the uplift doesn’t come in strongly, in the biggest month of the year for receipts, it will become nearly impossible for the government to meet this year’s borrowing targets and fuel concerns there has been a structural decline in income tax receipts.

1. Self- assessment income tax receipts

The Treasury has been banking on January being a bumper month for income tax receipts, because of the behavioural changes around the dropping of the top rate of income tax.

In the spring of 2013, a number of higher-rate taxpayers moved their income from the 2012-13 tax year into the 2013-14 tax year to take advantage of the cut in the higher rate of income tax from 50 to 45p. Read more

 

Britons have long been thought of as heavy drinkers, but recently the proportion of binge drinkers has been falling and teetotallers are growing in number. Changes in behaviour among the young are thought to be the biggest reason

 

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Emily Cadman

(c) Getty Images

The Bank of England is studiously non-party political. But with the UK economy – and the cost of living – centre stage in an election campaign that is steadily ramping up, the central bank’s quarterly inflation report on Thursday will be more closely scrutinised than usual. Read more

US honey prices are continuing a steady upward trend with year-on-year prices in early February 13 per cent higher as a result of increased demand and lower domestic production.

Production of US honey has been falling year-on-year, with the latest figures from commodities data firm Mintec showing 67,800 tonnes of honey were produced in 2013, down 5 per cent year-on-year and 35 per cent lower than output levels of 20 years ago, mainly due to a decline in bee colony yields.

As a result of a supply and demand imbalance, imports into the US have been rising steadily, with volumes in 2013 reaching 153,750 tonnes, up 8 per cent year-on-year, and totalling about 65 per cent of US supply. Read more

 

The announcement of the European Central Bank’s quantitative easing programme stole the headlines last month, but lower growth and inflation prospects have led to interest rate cuts by many of the world’s central banks in the first part of this year.

 

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David Cameron is taking a leaf from Shinzo Abe’s book. “It’s time Britain had a pay rise,” the UK prime minister plans to tell business leaders on Tuesday (unlike the Japanese prime minister, he will deliver his message in a speech rather than over a few rounds of golf.) It seems like a political no-brainer with an election in May and a workforce that has suffered six years of real terms pay cuts. But is it really that simple? And what can Mr Cameron do about it anyway? Here are six charts that explain what is really going on.

1. It’s true that UK workers have suffered a brutal real-terms pay cut since the crisis.

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The world is awash with even more debt than before the financial crisis. Use the FT interactive tool to compare countries’ debt levels Read more