Monday, 26 October 2015

Tax credits - will people be worse off? See our academic links.

This week working tax credits are in the news. The House of Lords will be debating proposed changes.
Their website will have live video coverage and a transcript of the debates.

The BBC provides an introduction to the proposed changes.
A more in-depth introduction to the issues is provided with this House of Commons Library research paper. which provides information on the legislation, policy, supporters and opponents.

Policy documents.
UK government current tax credit information. 
Proposed legislation
HMRC statistics on current number of claimants
House of Lords  draft scrutiny report of proposed legislation.

Academic analysis
Social Security Advisory committee analysis
Policy in Practice have released a report stating that the Lords should block the measure in their debate
Instead they propose an alternative system of universal credit.
New Policy Institute analysis of how the minimum wage interacts with the benefits system Feb 2015
IFS post-budget briefing July 2015 and analysis of the compensation offered by the new national living wage.
Social Market Foundation commentary
Guardian newspaper summaries of research.
Resolution Foundation analysis 
Frank Field MP criticisms.
Hansard Society 

Union and campaign group responses.
TUC criticism 
and Touchstone blog commentary

Unison dont take the tax credit document . They also have a calculator on their website to measure the impact on income.
Child Poverty Action Group 
Low Incomes Tax reform Group concerns
Gingerbread - single parents worse hit
Disability Rights UK

Research on living wage
Joseph Rowntree research on minimum income standards.

Trust for London research on Living wage in the capital



Wednesday, 21 October 2015

Open Access week- data for free!

Yesterday was world Statistics day.
to celebrate this explore some fabulous free data sources!
For World Wide coverage try UN Data this has all the major publications and series from the United Nations.

A real highlight are Human development data tables which focus on aspects of poverty and development

ILOSTAT from the International Labour Organisation has statistical datasets.on over 100 indicators from 230 nations worldwide.

Global Health Observatory from the WHO has coverage of health data

Eurostat has statistics from EU nations.covering a range of social, economic and political topics.

UK office for National statistics provides free access to recent data.  There are neighbourhood statistics for local authorities.

Tuesday, 20 October 2015

Open access week. Here are some of our favourite recommended ebooks for free

Here are some recommended free books collections. remember you local library may have many more subscription services.

Online ebooks Collection
Excellent index to free ebooks maintained by Penn University. Highlights individual titles and largeebook. directories. Over 1 million titles currently listed. Covers all subject areas

DOAB Directory of Open access books great site allowing  searching and downloading of recent free boks from major academic publishers such as ANU, Manchester university

Project Gutenberg
World famous project with thousands of titles .Most are  e-books published before the 20th century and are free because their copyrights have expired.

National Academies Press
 was created by the National Academy of Sciences to publish the reports of the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering and Medicine. High quality academic and scientific

Smithsonian books online- art, architecture, cultural studies

Monday, 19 October 2015

Celebrating open access week

This week celebrate open access week. Here are some of our favourite recommended resources.

For a definition of open access see this page by champion supporter Peter Suber.
and these online videos from the SPARC organisation
Open Education Group has some webinars coming up this week on how to be an open Academic. their website also has other useful webinars.

But here is our first recommended favourite open access   resource.

Open the doar to thousands of institutional repositories worldwide.
This is a great resource which quickly cross searches the institutional repositories of major universities across the globe. You might need to alow time to sort through the google like results but it is worth it.

  • You can use it to quickly locate papers, theses, some full text and some abstracts written by academic staff and researchers. Some of these are very recent and include examples of grey literature not yet indexed elsewhere.
  • It often includes materials published in developing nations.

Wednesday, 7 October 2015

Plastic bag charging - get the academic facts!

This week a 5p plastic bag charge was introduced for shoppers in England.
The BBC site promised to give you all the facts!
Or check out the information for consumers from the UK government website which also has further background information for retailers.

Why is the charge being introduced? 

Environment Agency  research from 2012 on the life cycle of average supermarket carrier bags provides insight into the environmental impact.
For more on the global environmental impact try searching the UNEP site

Data produced by Wrap recorded
an increase of 3% in the number of bags given away at supermarkets between 2012 and 2013.
Prior to the implementation of the charge a consumer survey in 2014 found most of the public in favour.

In Wales the introduction of the charge led to a 96% reduction in usage. Get the full facts from the Welsh government website which also recorded a change in consumer behaviour as surveys showed that more shoppers took their bags to the supermarket
Research about the introduction of the levy in Ireland also showed a reduction in usage.

However on a more negative note this recent SSRN paper raised concerned that if plastic bags were reused lack of hygiene could cause more food poisoning related diseases.
Also a local area study of the impact in Los Angeles of a local charge resulted in a loss of economic income for retailers and increased unemployment.

Immediate Uk reaction
British Retail Consortium has a negative response.
Break the Bag Habit has been campaigning for legislation.
Keep Britain Tidy called it a fantastic day
Friends of the Earth offered a more moderate response.

If you are an LSE student we also have access to CABI Environmental Impact.(campus access)
Web of Science, Scopus which provide access to articles on this topic.