Opinion and Editorial from the Policy Exchange team.
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Harriet Waldegrave, Education Research Fellow at Policy Exchange, sets out the importance of preserving early years interventions for children in deprived areas, calling for the lowering of the income-threshold for tax-free childcare to £60,000, saving £238 million for reinvestment. She also highlights the inadequate state of data-collection on the effectiveness of programmes run by Children’s Centres and makes recommendations for how this should be improved.
Policy Exchange’s recently appointed Head of Education, Jonathan Simons, responds to the Lib Dem’s announcement that all five – seven year olds will receive free school meals from next year. Jonathan argues that although there are some benefits attained from more children eating school lunches, the £600m cost of this scheme could be better spent increasing the pupil premium to provide better quality education to the most deprived youngsters.
Nick Faith, Director of Communications at Policy Exchange writes that with the focus on living standards in the run up to the next general election, by selling off its remaining shares in Lloyds the government could put £230 in every pocket and give itself a much needed boost in the polls in the process.
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.