£250,000 Wolfson Economics Prize 2021 seeks hospitals revolution

The Wolfson Economics Prize 2021, launched today in partnership with Policy Exchange, seeks planning and design ideas that will “radically improve” hospital care in the UK and around the world.

The Prize is evidence of a new focus on the long-term improvement in hospital provision in Britain and globally. The UK Government has already announced £3.7 billion of funding towards new hospitals in England for what it calls the “biggest hospital building programme in a generation”.

The judging panel – chaired by Rt Hon Prof Lord Kakkar, Professor of Surgery at University College London, crossbench peer in the House of Lords and Chair of the King’s Fund – will ask entrants for designs and plans for new hospitals that will “radically improve patient experiences, clinical outcomes, staff wellbeing, and integration with wider health and social care”. Entry is free and open to anyone.

The Future of the Union

It’s “plain common-sense and the responsible thing to do” to reject calls for a Scottish independence referendum during the Covid-19 pandemic. That is the verdict of Lord Dunlop, former Minister for Scotland and Northern Ireland – and author of an unpublished Government review on the workings of the Union – in an article for Policy Exchange.

His piece marked the launch of Policy Exchange’s Future of the Union Project – led by Adam Tomkins MSP and Eddie Barnes, a former adviser to Ruth Davidson – which will examine over the coming months how the Union can better work for all its constituent parts.

Lord Dunlop’s article observed that we are experiencing a “watershed moment” and called for new a Union of Co-operation, with “a re-vamped and enhanced Intergovernmental Council” helping to “manage disputes and facilitate joint decision-making”. Read the paper here – and coverage in The Sun here.

Eddie Barnes has written a blog for Policy Exchange on what Unionists can learn from remainers’ errors during the EU referendum. He argues that those that are committed to protecting the Union must also commit to ‘the need for real and lasting reform’ and not ‘phoney change’. Read his blog here.

Strong Suburbs

Policy Exchange this week published ‘Strong Suburbs’, a report by Dr Samuel Hughes, Senior Fellow, and Ben Southwood, Head of Housing, Transport, and the Urban Space. The report notes that the Government has moved away from ‘top-down’ plans to encourage development in areas with housing shortages. Instead, it argues that a ‘bottom up’ approach driven by local communities will deliver popular and beautiful housing without the need for imposition.

The main proposal would let individual streets vote to give themselves planning permission allowing them to turn themselves from bungalows or semis into terraces

Rt Hon Robert Jenrick MP, Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government, said: “Policy Exchange has led the debate on empowering communities, winning support for development, and creating beautiful popular homes. The Government supports enabling communities to set their own rules for what developments in their area should look like, ensuring that they reflect and enhance their surroundings and preserve our cherished local heritage, and Policy Exchange is continuing this vital conversation.”

Read the report here and coverage of the report in the The Daily MailThe Telegraph, and The I.

What the vaccine rollout means for NHS accountability

‘The vaccine rollout may show us a model for how a new approach to health service accountability, underpinned by new levers in legislation, will provide stronger political oversight whilst maintaining day to day NHS operational independence in the future,’ writes Richard Sloggett, Senior Fellow at Policy Exchange on Health and Social Care, in a new blog post. Read ithere

In his column for The Daily Mail, Dominic Lawson mentioned the work of the Policy Exchange Health Unit and its recent article published on how the UK’s genomics advances, supported by the Government over the last decade, had helped its pandemic response. Read the column here and the Policy Exchange paper here.

Guardian editorial cites Policy Exchange on History Matters

Policy Exchange’s History Matters Project, chaired by Trevor Phillips, was cited by a Guardian editorial, which noted our central role in the debate around the erasure of Britain’s shared history. The History Matters compendium, said The Guardian, “keeps a tally of changes made by councils, universities and other institutions to their displays, curricula and so on” – and quoted our verdict that history is “the most active front in a new culture war”.

Previously, the History Matters Project welcomed the announcement by Rt Hon Robert Jenrick MP, Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government, that the law will be changed to protect historic statues, plaques, memorials or monuments so that they cannot be removed unless it is decided through a formal planning process. Read the story here.  In The Spectator, Dr Zareer Masani, who sits on the advisory panel of the History Matters Project, examines the question: ‘What should we do with controversial monuments?’. Read his piece here.

Government Commission on future of the Civil Service

Policy Exchange is delighted to announce a Reform of Government Commission, Chaired by Dame Patricia Hodgson, which will examine how the Civil Service can be improved and modernised. Dame Patricia’s overview of the Commission’s work, which argues that “the unprecedented challenges which the UK faces require a fundamental assessment of how best the machinery of government can be envisioned and equipped for the new world,” can be read here

The Reform of Government Commission will go back to first principles and ask: what sort of Civil Service do we want? What should its ethos be? How should accountability be maximised through clearer lines of responsibility? How can it better serve governments of all hues?

We will draw on the expertise of a wide range of leading practitioners. Focus groups, polling and an evidence-gathering “roadshow” will be used to produce authoritative, useful research that leads to better government.

Read more, including a list of all the commissioners involved, here.

 

Understanding Islamism

Policy Exchange launched a major new project, Understanding Islamism. Writing in The Sunday Telegraph, Rt Hon Sajid Javid MP – former Home Secretary and former Communities Secretary – backed the project and emphasised the importance of understanding the strains of thinking that Islamist ideology feeds off. He writes:

“A new project being launched today called Understanding Islamism is a helpful step in that direction. This initiative by Policy Exchange will document emerging trends in Islamist ideology and networks, unpack the meaning of the challenge they represent, and comprehensively explore the policy responses to it across Europe and beyond.”

Headed by Sir John Jenkins – former British Ambassador to Saudi Arabia and co-author of the Government’s 2015 review on the Muslim Brotherhood – and Dr Martyn Frampton, Understanding Islamism will provide an extensive and evolving documentary record of Islamist pronouncements and activities. This detailed resource will cover Islamist movements and their associated networks, both in the UK, and overseas. Read more here.

 

Scott Morrison wins inaugural Grotius Prize

Policy Exchange was delighted to award the inaugural Grotius Prize –named after the founding father of international law, Hugo Grotius — to Hon Scott Morrison MP, the Prime Minister of Australia. This was in recognition of his work in support of the international rules-based order. The event was streamed live from London and Canberra.

A keynote speech from the Australian Prime Minister was followed by remarks from Rt Hon Boris Johnson MP, with a Vote of Thanks by Hon Alexander Downer AC,  Chairman of Trustees at Policy Exchange and former Foreign Minister of Australia.

The Australian Prime Minister welcomed the “timely publication by Policy Exchange’s Indo-Pacific Commission, A Very British Tilt: Towards a new UK strategy in the Indo-Pacific Region”. On this Commission’s core proposal for Britain to increase the priority accorded, toward the Indo-Pacific, Scott Morrison remarked: “I couldn’t agree more and have conveyed the same to Boris. I endorse the report’s vision for a reinvigorated community of free and independent nations with a single overriding goal. Namely, reinforce a sustainable rules-based order in the Indo-Pacific that is resilient but adaptable to the great power realities of the 21st century.”

Watch the event here and read our report here.

Union Connectivity Review mirrors Policy Exchange proposals

The Government has announced a review of transport connectivity across the UK, in order to understand how it can support economic development and improve quality of life. The terms of reference emphasise “transport connectivity between England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland via road, rail and air, and across the Irish Sea.” The announcement mirrors proposals in Policy Exchange’s 2019 report, Modernising the United Kingdom, which recommended that the Government should “announce a review of transport connections between Great Britain and Northern Ireland, focusing on air travel, sea travel and the capacity of road networks around airports and seaports” and that ministers should “lead a strategic infrastructure strategy to improve the economic connections between all parts of the country to reduce the disparities […]”. Read the report here.

Policy Exchange is ‘pre-eminent think tank in Westminster,’ says Iain Dale

“If anyone was to draw up a list of the top twenty most influential think tanks in Westminster, can anyone seriously doubt that Policy Exchange would be at number one?” That’s the verdict of Iain Dale in the LBC presenter’s latest column for Conservative Home. He calls Policy Exchange “the pre-eminent think tank in the Westminster village” and notes our unique convening power, saying: “There are few organisations that could attract power players like Mark Carney and Alan Greenspan, or Dominic Raab and Mike Pompeo to appear on its platforms.”

Policy Exchange hosts Prime Minister for the launch of the authorised biography of Margaret Thatcher

Dean Godson, Director of Policy Exchange, was delighted to welcome the Prime Minister, Rt Hon Boris Johnson MP, to the official launch of the final volume of Charles Moore’s authorised biography of Margaret Thatcher, Herself Alone.

The event, hosted by Policy Exchange, was the Prime Minister’s first visit to a think tank since he took office. It was attended by some of the surviving dramatis personae from the Thatcher era and other senior figures from the world of politics, journalism and public life.

The Prime Minister praised the biography, saying, it is “not just the greatest recent work of biography but… also, in our lifetimes, the greatest work of modern British history”. Charles Moore, the author of the 20-year project, is a Senior Fellow at Policy Exchange and was previously Chairman of the Trustees. Watch the video of the speeches on YouTube

Rt Hon Michael Gove MP

Manifesto wins

Policy Exchange was delighted that the party election manifestos reflected the priorities of our cross-party research since the last general election (and even earlier). Ideas from at least 24 papers were contained in the Conservative, Labour, Liberal Democrat and Green 2019 manifestos – from social care to education, farming to judicial power. Explore the infographic showing which ideas were adopted by the different parties here.

Strong Suburbs

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Britain needs more housing. But, so often, local residents justifiably believe that new housing in their area means a loss of public goods and amenities for them. This has led to a zero sum struggle where the debate is over who ought to be a winner and who ought to be a loser. Policy Exchange’s new paper Strong Suburbs cuts through that false dichotomy, providing a mechanism for local residents to benefit from, and control, new development.

Reforming the Lord Chancellor’s Role in Senior Judicial Appointments

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The system for appointing senior judges needs to be reformed. In this paper, we explain what has gone wrong and what should now be done to put it right. We take senior appointments to include the High Court, the Court of Appeal, leadership roles such as the Lord Chief Justice (the Head of the Judiciary in England and Wales) and Heads of Division (Master of the Rolls, President of the Queen’s Bench Division, President of the Family Division, and Chancellor of the High Court) and the Supreme Court. Our focus is therefore only on appointments to senior courts in England and Wales and to the UK Supreme Court, and not to senior judicial offices in Scotland and Northern Ireland.

Helping Generation Rent become Generation Buy: 

This paper’s contribution to the housing policy debate is to outline the policies that are needed on the demand side. Too often, on the demand side, the Government’s policy interventions have resulted in higher house prices, exacerbating the challenge facing buyers. Now, there needs to be a shift away from direct interventions such as help to buy or temporary freezes in stamp duty, says Gerard Lyons.

To prevent the break-up of the UK, we must learn from remainers’ errors during the EU referendum

Not a vote has yet been cast in the Scottish Parliament elections, scheduled for May 5th. So confident that a nationalist majority is already in the bag, however, the pro-independence campaign is already planning life after victory. An 11-point plan has been published on how to take forward a referendum. We are told that the as yet un-won majority the SNP expects to win will be evidence of Scotland’s desire to leave the United Kingdom. It shows – or will do, once it happens – that Scots want another referendum immediately. The SNP contend will be a democratic outrage if a British Prime Minister refuses to agree to one.

Andrew Dunlop on the Future of the Union

For many watching, the inauguration of Joe Biden was a moving experience.  The COVID crisis has been an unsettling reminder of the fragility of humanity.  And with the shocking, lawless scenes of rioters storming the Capitol fresh in the memory, when democracy itself  seemed in peril, the 46th US President’s theme of unity offered the uplifting prospect of better times just around the corner.  “With unity we can do great things” he promised. 

£250,000 Wolfson Economics Prize 2021 seeks hospitals revolution

The 2021 Wolfson Economics Prize, launched today in partnership with Policy Exchange, seeks planning and design ideas that will “radically improve” hospital care in the UK and around the world.

The Prize is evidence of a new focus on the long-term improvement in hospital provision in Britain and globally. The UK Government has already announced £3.7 billion of funding towards new hospitals in England for what it calls the “biggest hospital building programme in a generation”.

Health Accountability

Proposals to strengthen ministerial accountability are long overdue, and will complement the changes underway to consolidate various arm’s length bodies into NHS England, said Robert Ede, Head of Health and Social Care at Policy Exchange, in an article for the Health Service Journal on the significance of this week’s Health and Care White Paper on legislative reform. Read his article re-published on the Policy Exchange website here.

Charging Up

The Energy & Environment Unit at Policy Exchange launched a paper warning that the installation of electric vehicle chargepoints would have to be five times faster during the 2020s to make the petrol and diesel vehicle ban workable. The report was authored by Ed Birkett, Senior Fellow and William Nicolle, Research Fellow at Policy Exchange. The release coincided with the Government’s announcement of £20m additional funding for EV charging infrastructure. Read coverage of the report in The Telegraph, Sky News, Bloomberg and BBC News. Read the report here.

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  • Thursday, 18 February, 2021
    13:00 - 14:00

‘NATO Challenges and Britain’s Integrated Review’: with General Curtis Scaparrotti (USA, Ret.) former Supreme Allied Commander Europe in conversation with Rt Hon Lord Robertson of Port Ellen KT former NATO Secretary General and UK Defence Secretary Chaired by Larisa Brown Defence Editor, The Times   (more…)

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  • Tuesday, 26 January, 2021
    10:30 - 11:30

The UK’s Net Zero target requires all sectors of the economy to decarbonise, particularly electricity, transport, heating, and industry. At this event, the panel will discuss the main elements of the UK Government’s recent Energy White Paper, including any areas where the Government could have gone further.

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  • Monday, 18 January, 2021
    13:00 - 14:00

Cities around the world have been shut down by the Covid-19 pandemic. Commuters have stayed at home; shops and restaurants have been forced to close. Policy Exchange’s Liveable London Unit is therefore being relaunched at a time of crisis. Will the deserted streets of our cities come back to life in 2021 – or are cities as we knew them gone for good? The Chair of the Advisory Council of the Liveable London Unit, Professor Ed Glaeser, Professor of Economics at Harvard University and author of Triumph of the City is one of the world’s foremost urban economists and best placed to offer an authoritative answer.

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