Opinion and Editorial from the Policy Exchange team.
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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.
Ruth Davis, Crime & Justice Research Fellow at Policy Exchange, highlights the new and innovative ways in which police forces are using technology to tackle crime and engage with the public. Ruth argues that such technologies will help the police bridge the distance that has built between them and the public, as well as increasing police accountability.
Sean Worth, Head of Policy Exchange’s Better Public Services Project, argues that while the easy option for Andy Burnham and Ed Miliband would be to continue to deny all culpability for the NHS’s failings, they should instead distance themselves from union extremists, and show they recognise where they have gone wrong. Their best approach would be to drop the ideological baggage and agree to some simple, tough decisions about how to prevent a repetition of the scandals that occurred on their watch.
Matthew Oakley, Policy Exchange’s Head of Economics & Social Policy, backs the introduction of a benefit cap at £26,000, but argues that it is only a short term solution. He says that if state spending is to be meaningfully reduced in the future, the government must tackle the costs of housing and rationalise financial support for the low paid.
Alex Morton, Policy Exchange’s Head of Housing & Planning, congratulates Housing Minister Mark Prisk for striking a sensible balance between supporting the social housing sector and requiring that it uses its assets in a fair and efficient way, but reiterates his call from Ending Expensive Social Tenancies for councils to sell off the most expensive council housing when it becomes vacant and use the proceeds to build new, better quality social housing.
Following the broadcast of ‘The Murder Trial’ on Channel 4, Policy Exchange Crime & Justice Research Fellow Charlotte McLeod makes the case for televising court cases. Charlotte highlights the inconsistency of allowing social media into courtrooms, but not TV broadcast, and argues that with stringent safeguards in place broadcasting court proceedings offers an important opportunity to engage the public in understanding how our judicial system works.
Guy Newey, Policy Exchange’s Head of Environment & Energy, argues that while, on the face of it, now seems to be a pretty good time to be a green investor, the increased utilities prices that will result from the contracts for new power generation may mean that government support will not be sustainable.