Opinion and Editorial from the Policy Exchange team.
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Guy Newey. Head of Environment & Energy at Policy Exchange writes that the surprise measure of giving new homeowners a £1,000 grant to spend on energy efficiency measures may just work by giving people the ‘nudge’ they need to implement efficiency measures.
The Water Bill, which goes to committee stage this week, has cross-party support for a welcome opening up of the water retail services market. But, argues Simon Less, the Government needs to listen to water companies, the regulator and the EFRA select committee, who, in a rare alliance, are calling for incumbent water companies to be allowed to exit the retail services market. This would help unlock the benefits from competition, scale economies and specialisation.
In the run up to the Autumn Statement, there is much political debate over the cost of green issues. Guy Newey, Head of Environment & Energy at Policy Exchange writes that those who care about the environment should not let climate change rows draw attention from wider, and related, environmental concerns.
Guy Newey, Head of Environment and Energy at Policy Exchange writes that the Government has missed a trick by not asking the Big Six to hold its prices until 2015, as was widely mistakenly reported. Governments often under-estimate their powers of persuasion, instead using legislation to threaten which leads to greater industry and public frustration.
Ed Holmes, Policy Exchange’s Senior Research Fellow for Economics & Social Policy, sets out the calls from his new report Money for Nothing for a strictly enforced set of fiscal rules to bind future governments into more sustainable spending plans. Such rules would include automatic emergency budgets to hold the government to account when the fiscal rules are breached, increased time for Parliamentary scrutiny of non-compliant budgets, and triggering automatic freezes to tax allowance thresholds, public sector pay and benefit payments.
Predictions of doom have not materialised and PCCs are proving they have the potential to be an effective catalyst for change
Charlotte McLeod, Crime & Justice Research Fellow at Policy Exchange, argues that the one year anniversary of the Police & Crime Commissioner elections has marked a turning point in perception of the role. Charlotte argues that focus is beginning to move away from election reproach and expenses scandals and towards the recognition that reforms are beginning to work.
James Barty, Policy Exchange’s Senior Consultant for Financial Policy, criticises policymakers for being dishonest when they urges banks to lend more whilst at the same time insisting that they become safer. James argues that banks’ capital ratios need to be relaxed in order to boost lending to SMEs, a case he made in Policy Exchange’s report Capital Requirements.
Jonathan Simons, Policy Exchange’s Head of Education, examines Ed Miliband’s recent childcare speech. Jonathan welcomes the fleshing out of Labour’s commitments in this area, but argues there are still real questions as to the practicalities of they will implement free childcare measures and wraparound primary school care to give parents a concrete offer for their children and reassure schools that this will not turn into a bureaucratic exercise.
James Barty, Head of Financial Policy at Policy Exchange urges the Government to ensure that Britain saves more for the future to encourage higher investment. He also argues that China saves four times more than the UK, with high investment and a trade surplus.
Ahead of the launch of the Wolfson Prize for Economics, Lord Simon Wolfson writes that inspired new garden cities in the countryside could be the answer to the UK’s housing crisis, and explains why he is launching this £250,000 prize to find the best way to build one.