Opinion and Editorial from the Policy Exchange team.
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Following the successful sale of 6% of Lloyds to institutional shareholders, James Barty, Head of Financial Policy, Policy Exchange writes that the government needs to go further and sell off its remaining shares to the public. A mass distribution of shares would allow taxpayers to benefit from any rise in the share price.
Five years after the fall of Lehman Brothers, James Barty writes that efforts to reform finance have not been a success. He argues that while the financial system has undoubtably been strengthened since the collapse, it has come with a price, exceptionally weak credit growth.
Following the launch of the new TSB bank, James Barty, Policy Exchange’s Senior Consultant for Financial Policy, writes that the arrival of new competition combined with the Funding for Lending scheme should bolster the supply of credit. However, both the chancellor and the governor of the Bank of England, Mark Carney, will need to allow banks more room to do so by loosening regulations on the amount of liquidity banks are forced to hold so they can then replace liquid but non-productive assets like gilts with new loans.
Alex Morton, Head of Housing & Planning at Policy Exchange, writes that in order to tackle NIMBYism and to build more homes we need to give back more control to local people over the quality of homes built in their areas and to offer neighbourhood incentives such as council tax rebates to residents who allow developments to go ahead.
To make best use of police forces’ limited resources, argues Ruth Davis, Crime & Justice Research Fellow at Policy Exchange, the police should partner with the private sector to make considerable savings, make better use of technology and by partnership schemes with other social agencies.
Jonathan Simons, Policy Exchange’s Head of Education, examines Michael Gove’s recent speech to Policy Exchange on ‘The Importance of Teaching’. Jonathan notes how the teaching force is becoming less homogenous and increasingly differs in its views on education reform to those held by trade union leaders and the ‘education establishment’. Gove may well find that talking over the heads of the self proclaimed intermediaries means he needn’t expend so much effort attacking future rounds of union strikes and some findings of ‘progressive’ academics.
Chris Yiu, Head of Digital Government at Policy Exchange, sets out the main arguments of our recent paper Smaller, Better, Faster, Stronger. By leveraging technology, data and the internet, the government could do more with less, leading to cumulative savings of around £70bn by 2020.
Guy Newey, Policy Exchange’s Head of Environment & Energy, outlines the possible explanations for the recently released ONS data that showed that energy consumption in UK homes fell by 25% between 2005 and 2011. Guy also examines what this means for low carbon policy, arguing that absolute reductions in energy use may actually be possible and awkward questions arise about where the cost of policy falls.
Simon Moore, Environment & Energy Research Fellow at Policy Exchange, highlights the great uncertainties of shale gas – namely whether it can be produced commercially. He argues that this uncertainty, inherent in any new form of energy generation, shows the need for an energy market with a proper carbon pricing strategy that will be able to explore the future and whether new technologies can change prices.
Max Chambers, Policy Exchange’s Head of Crime & Justice, sets out the recommendations of our recent report Power Down, which advocates giving PCCs further criminal justice and crime prevention responsibilities. The report envisages ten or so existing ‘Super’ PCCs trialling these new powers on an accelerated timescale.