Together, a decade of loose public spending, fiscal stimulus and the aftermath of the financial crisis left Britain with the highest deficit in its post war history at 10.2% of GDP. Even half a decade later, that deficit is only half closed, and remains high internationally. Budgeting for Balance looks at the experience of fiscal consolidation so far, and how to approach the remainder of the task.
Whitehall Rules! shows how the Government could save £1 billion over the next four years by cutting the amount it currently spends on contractors by just 25%. In 2014/15, Government departments spent £1.01 billion on external contractors, up from £610 million in 2011/12.
DECC could save hundreds of millions of pounds and promote more competition and innovation among energy companies by sweeping away swathes of energy quangos at the Spending Review. Currently more than 30 bodies, many with overlapping functions and with an annual cost of £600m a year, govern energy policy, regulations and rules.
Higher, Further, Faster, More calls for BIS to redirect up to £532m of the Higher Education Funding Council (HEFCE) grant to improve the quality of Further Education. Whilst acknowledging the importance of our Higher Education sector, the report points out that universities are sitting on reserves of £12.3bn at a time when 1 in 4 FE colleges could effectively go bankrupt within a year.
Ahead of a speech by American education academic E. D. Hirsch, Policy Exchange has drawn together a collection from a diverse range of education policy experts discussing the impact that Hirsch's thinking has had on the curriculum.
Onshore wind is the most cost effective and scaleable low carbon technology in the UK and should be allowed to continue, albeit with subsidies phased out, if the government wants to decarbonise at least cost to the consumer.
Secondary schools should cover the costs of some or all their students who fail to get a C in GCSE English or maths and end up transferring from the school to a Further Education (FE) College to take their resits.
On the Move shows how making it easier for people – especially those on low incomes – to commute just a little bit further each day can put them in touch of thousands of extra potential jobs. Proposals from the report for doing so include tax benefits for ride-sharing schemes, introducing part-time rail tickets and devolution rail franchising and commercial bus subsidy.
For too long policymakers have failed to strike the right balance between energy affordability and decarbonising the economy. Ill thought through energy and climate policies have added £120 to the average household energy bill over the past five years. While reducing carbon emissions remains critical, if the government wants to retain support for this goal it must focus on carrying it out in a way that reduces the price of energy bills.