Opinion and Editorial from the Policy Exchange team.
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Alex Morton, Policy Exchange’s Head of Housing & Planning, sets out a range of ways the government could start providing more homes, including: helping people to self-build, ending expensive social tenancies, ending expensive social tenancies, trying to treat those near new homes fairly, creating new powers to help quality and ensuring Help-to-Buy has an exit strategy.
Jonathan Simons, Policy Exchange’s Head of Education, examines new shadow education secretary Tristram Hunt’s policy on free schools. Jonathan praises Hunt’s approach, which is supportive, but notes three key details to watch for: how Labour define the “areas of need” they want new schools to operate in, planning issues for new schools and whether or not free schools will retain their preferred status when a local authority is seeking a new school.
Following the publication of our latest research note Public and Private Sector Pay: 2013 Update which examines the regional differences in public and private sector pay, Ed Holmes, Senior Economics & Social Policy Research Fellow, writes that reforming public sector pay will boost employment and generate growth in the regions that need it most.
Charlotte McLeod, Crime & Justice Research Fellow at Policy Exchange urges the piloting of ‘drunk tanks’ to tackle problematic drinking culture which costs in excess of £2.7bn every year and to help free up time, money and resources from our already hard-pressed NHS and police forces.
Following Ed Miliband’s pledge to freeze energy bills, Guy Newey, Policy Exchange’s Head of Environment and Energy, examines what options government has to actually lower energy bills without abandoning green commitments. Guy draws up a list of 8 options, but highlights how complicated each approach is, and argues that government might have to concede the inevitability of rising energy prices whilst pledging to keep them as low as possible and protect those most vulnerable.
The Chancellor’s announcement of a new fiscal rule to ensure the government runs a surplus is to be commended, writes Ed Holmes, Economics & Social Policy Senior Research Fellow at Policy Exchange. Such measures must be taken to reduce the deficit and to achieve the sound public finances few previous governments have mustered.
In public policy, relative priority matters – will new data from Save the Children mean we see a greater focus on primary schooling?
Jonathan Simons, Policy Exchange’s Head of Education, comments on new data from Save the Children showing that 78% of the difference in attainment recorded in literacy and numeracy at age 16 is already present at age 7. Jonathan notes the significiant pivot from the organisation from their previous focus on living standards to the schools space, and asks whether this might see policymakers likewise refocus their efforts to this area.
Policy Exchange’s Head of Crime & Justice, Max Chambers, analyses the achievements and progress made by the Home Secretary, Theresa May and the Justice Secretary, Chris Grayling, as well as the challenges ahead and the role that crime and immigration will play in the upcoming 2015 general election.
Giving local people more control over local developments could help solve the housing crisis and help the Conservatives win the next election, writes Alex Morton, Head of Housing & Planning at Policy, By engaging with this growing social and economic crisis, the government could build hundreds of thousands of good quality homes without isolating local people.
Nick Faith, Policy Exchange’s Director of Communications, sets out the reasons behind Policy Exchange’s decision to form a new Black and Ethnic Minority Research Unit. Nick points out that, despite making up 15-20% of England’s population, and with a diverse range of communities each with their own nuances, politicians have tended to assume that BME groups can be treated as a single political entity and very little research has actually been conducted as to why individuals within these communities choose to engage (or not) in British politics and public life.