Opinion and Editorial from the Policy Exchange team.
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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.
Policy Exchange’s Head of Crime & Justice Max Chambers examines Labour’s likely forthcoming policy announcements in the area of policing and argues that the party needs to address its position on PCCs. Max argues that the smart money is on PCCs remaining in place – should Labour seek to scrap PCCs, they would need to make it their first priority in office and pass emergency legislation in Parliament.
Matthew Tinsley, Economics & Social Policy Research Fellow at Policy Exchange, writes that without strong economic growth the country faces an inevitable trade-off between unemployment and lower wages. Uncomforting though it may be, Matthew argues that the UK’s focus on jobs rather than higher wages is the right side of that trade-off.
Alex Morton, Head of Policy Exchange’s Housing & Planning Unit, suggests that instead of being a cause for celebration, the news that house prices are rising at their fastest since 2006 underscores the pressing need to revise Help to Buy. By guaranteeing purchases of any home up to £600,000 for three years, he argues, the Government is offering short-term support to developers instead of a long-term solution to the problems facing the housing market and the increasing demand for affordable housing.
Following the Howard League for Penal Reform’s recommendation that thieves and fraudsters should not serve prison terms, Policy Exchange’s Head of Crime and Justice, Max Chambers, argues that property crimes are already treated very leniently by the criminal justice system. Instead of banning prison sentences to reduce the prison population, the focus should be on preventing crime and reducing reoffending.
Two years on from the 2011 riots, Max Chambers, Policy Exchange’s Head of Crime & Justice, examines the cognitive dimension of the rioter’s behaviour and how this might link with the proliferation of social media. Max argues that the conditions that sparked the riots are still present and that in the short-term we may unfortunately become more familiar with these types of disturbances.
Lucy Lee, Policy Exchange’s Head of Education, offers a few thoughts on the government’s proposed tax-free childcare scheme. Whilst expressing support for greater support for working parents, Lucy voices concerns that the scheme will favour wealthier parents when it is poorer families that need the support most. On top of this, families earning under £10,000 will not be eligible for the scheme, nor for the proposed increase in working tax credits that would increase childcare assistance.
Matthew Oakley, Head of Economics and Social Policy at Policy Exchange argues that rather than banning zero-hour contracts, ministers should recognise the important role they play in helping growing businesses drive the economy and for those looking to take their first steps into the labour market.
Nick Faith, Policy Exchange’s Director of Communications, praises the focus in George Osborne’s Times article on job creation outside of the South East. Nick argues that Osborne has chosen the right message to send to the electorate and should follow up with policies to ram the message home over and over again.