Economics & Social Policy

Finances

‘Without sound finance, you cannot have a strong economy with which to fund public services’ – the moral the Chancellor should choose for his Budget

Policy Exchange’s Research Fellow in Economics, Mike Taylor, sets out the guiding principles with which to judge the Autumn Budget. Highlighting the importance of fiscal sustainability, Mike cautions those seeking to use the Japanese experience to justify higher borrowing, pointing out the limits of any comparison with the UK.

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Northern Ireland

A sensible deal on the Northern Ireland border is very achievable – Brussels and Dublin should stop playing games.

Policy Exchange’s Chief Economic Adviser, Dr Graham Gudgin, sets out how a workable deal on the Northern Ireland border could be delivered – without the return of a ‘hard border’. He says that the Irish Government and European Commission are using the issue for short-term political gain. ​

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Universal Credit and the big labour market questions the UK needs to consider

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.

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Central bank challenges after the great recession

Warwick Lightfoot — Policy Exchange’s Research Director and Head of Economics and Social Policy — reflects on present monetary policy challenges, to mark the twentieth anniversary of the Bank of England becoming independent and the creation of its Monetary Policy Committee. Lightfoot argues that the necessary starting point is to recognise that ‘monetary policy was at the heart of the monetary shock in 2007’, and that ‘the policies that have been successful in stabilising the macro-economy have thrown up complex microeconomic problems that will make future policy difficult’.

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Mrs Merkel’s fourth term economic headaches

German Chancellor Angela Merkel will face her fourth general election next Sunday, 24th September. Opinion polls strongly suggest that she will win a fourth term forming a coalition with one or more of f the other parties.  Attention will then shift to the policy...
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Latest Economics & Social Policy Publications

Global Champion: The case for unilateral free trade

Global Champion: The case for unilateral free trade

In a major new study, Policy Exchange argues that as the UK leaves the EU, it should unilaterally abolish all tariffs. This would reduce UK consumers’ shopping bills, increase productivity and promote global prosperity. We can also disarm the threat of a ‘No Deal’ Brexit. In the Foreword, Australian High Commissioner to London Alexander Downer said: “Trade is not a zero-sum equation. In the decades ahead all major economies should remove their tariffs and open their markets to competition. As the UK once again takes its place at the WTO it should take the opportunity lead by example and remove its tariffs.”

Global Britain, Global Solutions: How British R&D can transform international development

Global Britain, Global Solutions: How British R&D can transform international development

This new Policy Exchange report, published today — written by Economic and Social Policy Research Fellow, Jonathan Dupont — recommends that the UK should double the proportion of its international aid budget spent on research and development, in order to solve the most pressing global challenges and support the Government’s Industrial Strategy. George Freeman MP, Chair of the Conservative Policy Forum, has written a Foreword for the report.

Global Britain, Global Challenges: How to make aid more effective

Global Britain, Global Challenges: How to make aid more effective

Policy Exchange today publishes ‘Global Britain, Global Challenges: How to make aid more effective’. The report makes a strong case for the importance of overseas aid and supports the Government’s commitment to spending 0.7 per cent of national income on aid. The report has a foreword by Scottish Conservative leader Rt Hon Ruth Davidson, MSP; she wrote for The Times today about why “Looking forward, a global Britain should both maintain its world-leading aid budget and be a champion for free trade”.

Latest Economics & Social Policy Blogs

Democracy and Brexit

Democracy and Brexit

Reflecting on the Foreign Secretary’s speech at Policy Exchange last week, Director of Research and Strategy Rupert Oldham-Reid summarises the speech.

Britain should unilaterally drop tariffs and become a champion of free trade

Britain should unilaterally drop tariffs and become a champion of free trade

Today the Foreign Secretary gave a major speech at Policy Exchange – the first in a series by UK Ministers setting out the Government’s vision for Britain after Brexit. Our advice is simple – Britain should unilaterally drop tariffs and become a champion of free trade. This message has important, progressive consequences and is contained in Policy Exchange’s latest report.

Latest Economics & Social Policy News

Warwick Lightfoot argues for agriculture policy reform on Farming Today

Warwick Lightfoot argues for agriculture policy reform on Farming Today

Policy Exchange’s Director of Economics & Social Policy Warwick Lightfoot – former Special Adviser to three Chancellors – appeared on the BBC to argue the case for reform of agriculture policy as Britain leaves the EU. Warwick pressed that farm policy is not currently aimed at supporting consumers and this should be reviewed as the UK moves away from the Common Agricultural Policy.

Warwick Lightfoot gives evidence on trade

Warwick Lightfoot gives evidence on trade

Policy Exchange’s Director of Economics Warwick Lightfoot gave evidence to the House of Commons International Trade Committee on US-UK trade after Brexit. Warwick argued that consumers should be at the heart of trade policy, and that freer trade means more choice and lower prices for them.

Latest Economics & Social Policy Events


  • Tuesday, 30 January, 2018
    8:00 - 9:00

The Chief Secretary to the Treasury, Rt Hon Liz Truss MP, made the case for the free market in an event at Policy Exchange. Truss said that free enterprise has huge economic benefits, driving down prices and creating growth and jobs, and is intensely democratic and open, breaking down monopolies, hierarchies and outdated practices.


  • Thursday, 7 December, 2017
    12:00 - 13:45

How can the UK ensure that it is competitive post Brexit? Dominic Raab MP joined an expert panel to offer answers to this question which will have a significant impact upon the wealth of the country following Brexit. This event marked the launch of Everyone has a part to play: Improving the UK’s competitiveness post-Brexit by enhancing the rule of law, a new report from Linklaters on this once-in-a-generation opportunity to reinforce the rule of law and hence the UK’s economic competitiveness and prosperity.

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