Opinion and Editorial from the Policy Exchange team.
Choose A Category
Arts and Culture
Demography, Immigration and Integration
Crime and Justice
Demography, Immigration and Integration
Economics and Social Policy
Environment and Energy
French Presedential Election
Foreign Policy and Security
Government and Politics
Housing and Urban Regeneration
Security and Extremism
Ahead of the Budget, Policy Exchange’s Head of Housing and Urban Regeneration Susan Emmett wrote for Huffington Post about how “Money alone will not fix the housing market”. She says “Local backing for developments is more likely if they have regard to the aesthetics and impact on local infrastructure” and calls for “consistent direction, not only from Whitehall but also from all levels of government up and down the country”.
The Chancellor should not give in to the temptation to “give what amounts to protection money to the union lobby” and increase school funding in next week’s Budget, argues Policy Exchange’s Head of Education and Social Reform John Blake in the Times. “We can have world-leading schools without breaking the bank, but not if our school system believes there will always be more money whatever happens.”
Last week, Chuka Umunna spoke to Chatham House in a much-needed intervention on the state of British foreign policy.
In recent years, the British foreign policy debate has not kept up with the pace of global political and economic change. For that reason alone, there was much to commend in Umunna’s sense of urgency. To adapt to the challenges of the twenty-first century, as he put it, “we need to look ahead and develop a proper national strategy on the basis of a clear understanding of what our interests are”.
Today’s quarter point rise in interest rates by the Monetary Policy of the Bank of England is notable as the first increase in ten years. But at 0.5% Bank Rate is still at extremely low levels. Indeed today’s move merely reverses last August’s quarter point cut, which was an easing of policy designed to help offset the anticipated slowdown in growth following the EU referendum result. Given that by the end of last year it was clear that the economy was actually in fairly good shape it would have been prudent to have reversed this last rate reduction several months ago. But it is better late than never.
Matthew Rooney, Energy and Environment Research Fellow at Policy Exchange, responds to Dieter Helm’s recent Cost of Energy Review. The review, commissioned by the Government and released last week, sparked much debate online. The main dividing line, Rooney explains, is between those who believe that an activist state and large subsidies for renewable energy deployment are necessary to bring down costs, and those who think the Government’s main role is to create a level playing field for low carbon technologies to compete without subsidy. Helm’s big idea is a carbon tax with border carbon adjustments. Could that work and what are its potential benefits?
Warwick Lightfoot, Head of the Economics Unit, argues that the controversy over the introduction of Universal Credit is an opportunity to revisit the fundamentals of a modern, market-friendly benefit system. At present benefits extend too far up the income distribution, damaging incentives and productivity as benefit withdrawal pushes effective marginal tax rates to extreme levels. In addition, greater regional variation in benefits, to take account of local labour market conditions, would be a major improvement.
Policy Exchange’s Energy and Environment Research Fellows, Matthew Rooney and Joshua Burke, respond to the Government’s Clean Growth Strategy. The long awaited strategy document detailing how the UK will meet their emissions reductions targets was published on Thursday. In it there is positive news for onshore wind, nuclear power and the hydrogen economy, whilst fracking is a notable absence. A next big decision for the Government to make is whether the UK will remain in the EU Emissions Trading Scheme. Policy Exchange are currently conducting research into the potential benefits of leaving the scheme and implementing a British carbon tax system.
The Supreme Court has today used vague provisions in the EU Charter of Fundamental Rights to disapply an Act of Parliament. This outcome is impossible under ordinary human rights law and confirms the danger the Charter poses to parliamentary democracy. The Court passed up the opportunity to consider limits on the Charter’s application and the case confirms the need to end the Charter’s place in domestic law after the UK leaves the EU.
The Head of Policy Exchange’s Judicial Power Project, Professor Richard Ekins, gave evidence to the House of Common’s Brexit Select Committee alongside regular JPP contributor, Sir Stephen Laws, former First Parliamentary Counsel. Rebecca Lowe, Policy Exchange’s State & Society and Judicial Power Project (JPP) Fellow, reports on the hearing, which focused initially on the constitutional and legal aspects of the bill, before expanding to the Brexit process more widely, with questions ranging from the future role, if any, of the ECJ, to the provision that could be made for a ‘transition period’.
Dr Ray Bassett, Senior Fellow on EU Affairs at Policy Exchange and a former senior Irish ambassador takes a look at the Brexit discussions around the Common Travel Area (CTA). Despite the deadlock in Brexit negotiations, the UK Government continues to maintain a constructive and sensible attitude to the CTA, which should reassure British and Irish citizens living and working in those respective countries – who should be more concerned about the “glib” attitude for EU negotiators on the CTA and the border.