UK economy

“Welcome to the future of work, where your colleagues will be old enough to be your great-grandparents and your competitors will be algorithms.” That is the brilliant lede by Brian Groom in his article on The Future of Work, a paper published today by the UK Commission for Employment and Skills, a government-funded research body.

The report predicts the rise of a “4G workforce”, where new entrants work alongside people old enough to be their great-grandfathers. In the UK, about one-tenth of over-65s are currently working. Improvements in health, rising retirement ages and smaller pension pots mean that this share is likely to rise in the future.

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This morning, the chancellor announced that there would be a further £25bn of spending cuts by 2017-18, and that in order to not increase the pace of current departmental spending cuts, a further £12bn would have to be eliminated from the “welfare” budget.

The Venn diagram from Flip Chart Fairy Tales summarises the choice facing Mr Osborne, and includes an apocalyptic assumption about the collapse of some public services. At the Autumn Statement, by targeting a return to surplus in 2018-19, the chancellor implicitly committed himself to finding about an additional £25bn in savings or revenue.  Read more

In today’s Guardian, Ed Balls admits that “at last economic growth is returning”. As my colleagues George Parker and Chris Giles note, this is a sign that the political debate over the recovery is changing from when will it begin to “who will own it?”

The answer to that is presumably George Osborne and Mark Carney. But there is another, subtly different question that will also be asked: “who will experience it”? Read more