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Related Content The Treasury is often stuck in two minds: that of the bank manager, and that of the venture capitalist. To put it another way, the Treasury is torn between an impulse to tighten the belt and an impulse to spend money on initiatives that lead to...
Levelling Up may have become one of the Government’s better known political slogans, but for millions of people in disadvantaged parts of the country the slogan captures a harsh economic truth. The UK suffers from chronic inequality, with whole regions and towns feeling that they have been left out of an economic agenda driven by disconnected politicians in Westminster. The recognition of that fact in this week’s White Paper is something for which the Government should be applauded. It is in fact a serious and robust attempt to think about questions of geographic inequality, the link between deprivation and poor economic outcomes, and how the state can be an effective partner for boosting productivity and growth across the country. Nevertheless, big questions remain about whether the solution proposed in any way matches the scale of the task.
The UK is the most regionally unequal country in the OECD save Ireland and Slovakia. That is the policy context under which the Levelling Up White Paper has been issued and provides the backdrop for the missions outlined in the White Paper, to be delivered by 2030.
The British labour market is one of the most flexible in the world, and this is a major economic asset. As a Policy Exchange report noted at the height of the pandemic, the British labour market withstood that shock remarkably well, and indeed labour’s share of national income has been stable over the last two decades while it has shrunk in many of our peer economies.
Labour’s plan for the economy: Right to focus on economic growth, wrong to think it can come via increased spending
In the view of many, Rachel Reeves has given Labour a newfound economic credibility. This is helped not only by Reeves’ economic credentials as a former Bank of England economist, but by the fact that the bar she needed to clear was a rather low one. In any case, though, the depth of the economic thinking behind her speech last week should be welcomed.
Social care is once more at the top of the political agenda. Paying big bills to fund your relatives’ social care is becoming what Americans call a ‘third rail’ issue in British politics.
Policy Exchange has done a lot of work on funding social care and our conclusion is clear. 21st Century Social Care, the report I co-authored, set out a clear answer to how it should be paid for, offering what we believe is the only sustainable solution.
The Bank of England has appointed a new chief economist to succeed Andy Haldane. Huw Pill’s experience should offer the UK central bank a novel intellectual perspective drawn from having worked at both the ECB for many years and as Goldman Sachs chief European economist.
Should a government provide subsides and intervene in the economy? This is an area of focus and some controversy following the recent decision to provide a government subsidy to Nissan and intervention to aid the steel sector.
One could be forgiven for thinking that the biggest criticism of such government intervention was from those arguing to reduce the size of the state. Government spending is, after all, at high levels, and the tax take, in relation to the size of the economy, at an all-time high. In fact, the biggest criticisms appeared to be from those wishing we were still in the EU, or so it seemed. Notwithstanding that, what is the issue?
“My Government will help more people to own their own home whilst enhancing the rights of those who rent.”
These words, from Her Majesty, during the Queen’s Speech, reflect an important focus for the Government. It was only last autumn that the Prime Minister outlined his intention to help Generation Rent become Generation Buy.
In the wake of the Queen’s Speech it seemed appropriate to return to some of the issues raised in a paper I produced for Policy Exchange on housing earlier this year.
“A pudding without a theme” was how Kwasi Kwarteng, Business Secretary, speaking in the House of Commons this week, described Theresa May’s 2017 industrial strategy. He had been asked by Greg Clark, who was in charge of what Mrs May had renamed the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS), why the government had scrapped the strategy. Mr Kwarteng went on to say that the economy was in a very different state from what it had been in 2017, and that the government had “morphed” the old strategy into the new “plan for growth”.