Lord Sedwill to Chair major new Policy Exchange project, Re-engineering Regulation

Policy Exchange’s Re-engineering Regulation project will offer a roadmap for regulatory reform fit for the post-Brexit, post-Covid era. Lord Sedwill will Chair an Advisory Council comprising leading figures from a range of fields whose sector-specific knowledge will help guide the project and its conclusions across a variety of sectors: from small businesses, professional and financial services to the NHS, policing and teaching.

Lord Sedwill has authored an article in The Telegraph to mark the launch of the project, writing that “The UK has the opportunity both to streamline regulation and modernise it to deliver the high environmental and social standards our citizens desire, plus the competitive edge the post-Brexit economy demands. As we enter the post-Brexit, post-Covid era, I hope we can grasp it.”

Policy Exchange’s Stephen Booth set out the aims of the project on Conservative Home.

You can read further details of the Advisory Council and the project’s Introductory report here.

Bill Gates speaks to Rt Hon Jeremy Hunt MP in exclusive Policy Exchange interview

In the first part of an exclusive Policy Exchange interview with Rt Hon Jeremy Hunt MP, Chair of the Health Select Committee, Bill Gates warns that limiting global warming to 1.5 degrees Celcius “will be very difficult”. He says: “I doubt that we’ll be able to achieve that.” The founder of Microsoft says that innovation is the key to breakthroughs on climate change, especially in winning over India and China to the net zero agenda. He also praises the UK’s climate leadership, noting that Britain “gets a very good grade on climate progress” and has been “exemplary” on reducing  carbon emissions. Watch a clip here. Two further clips will be released this week and the full interview on Friday.

Lord Frost: EU has destroyed cross-community consent in Northern Ireland

Lord Frost, the Cabinet Office Minister and former Chief Negotiator for Brexit, has launched a stinging attack on the European Union, warning in a Foreword to a new Policy Exchange paper that it has behaved “without regard to the huge political, economic, and identity sensitivities involved” in Northern Ireland, and “has destroyed cross-community consent” with an overly strict enforcement of the Northern Ireland Protocol.

The Northern Ireland Protocol: The Origins of the Current Crisis, by Roderick Crawford, is the first authoritative chronology to set out how the UK’s hands have been tied throughout Brexit by flawed decisions made in 2017. It is the story of how the UK got stuck with a protocol that was determined by a one-sided and flawed interpretation of the Belfast Agreement.

Lord Frost writes: “We must return to the Protocol and deliver a more robust, and more balanced, outcome than we could in 2019.”

Read the paper in full and coverage in The Times, Guardian, BBC, Daily Mail, Belfast Telegraph and The News Letter.

The merits of judicial review reform

Writing for The Spectator’s Coffee House, Prof Richard Ekins, Head of Policy Exchange’s Judicial Power Project, responds to David Davis MP’s critique of the Judicial Review and Courts Bill and argues that on the contrary the Bill is a welcome first step in restoring the balance of our constitution, a balance put in doubt by a decades-long expansion of judicial power. If anything, he says, Parliament should go further and amend the Bill to make it a more effective means to restore the traditional constitution. Read the post on Coffee House and his longer Policy Exchange paper on the same subject.

 

US believes in Special Relationship more than UK, poll finds

Americans believe more strongly that the UK-US alliance is a “Special Relationship” than Britons, according to new polling commissioned by Policy Exchange. Among 1712 British voters, YouGov found that only 28 per cent believe the US-UK alliance is a “special relationship” with a much bigger group – 52 per cent ­– saying no, the US-UK alliance is not really a “Special Relationship”.

However, in the United States, polling of 1000 people by Echelon Insights discovered that a much greater percentage of Americans believe in the Special Relationship.

Six in ten Americans believe the UK and US does have a special relationship and that the US-UK relationship has been a force for good in the world. Read a commentary for Policy Exchange and The Daily Mail by Niall Ferguson, Milbank Family Senior Fellow at the Hoover Institution. Read the full polling details.

Statute of limitations on troubles-related incidents

Rt Hon Brandon Lewis MP, Secretary of State for Northern Ireland, was justified in announcing a “statute of limitations, to apply equally to all Troubles-related incidents,” writes Jeff Dudgeon, the Northern Irish politician, historian, and activist, in a new blog post for Policy Exchange. 
 
The consensus around the 2014 Stormont House Agreement, he argues, “was vastly overstated – and the investigations lopsided in a way that undermined it from the start. Victims’ groups were by no means united in support for it, as anyone who went out and spoke to them can attest.” He says Simon Coveney, the Irish Foreign Minister, was misguided to intervene in a debate about who the UK is prosecuting and also notes the support, albeit reluctant, for the Government’s announcement from Rt Hon Lord Tebbit, who was nearly killed in the Brighton bombing by the IRA in 1984.

Government sets out Declaration on Government Reform

The Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster, Rt Hon Michael Gove MP, today endorsed the Policy Exchange Reform of Government Commission report Government Reimagined as an ‘excellent report’ following a speech announcing a new Declaration on Government ReformThe speech set out a series of commitments to reform government in the shadow of COVID-19, echoing recommendations made in Government Reimagined: A Handbook for Reform. These included commitments to implement capability-based pay, to recruit a dedicated Senior Responsible Owner (SRO) for all major projects, to introduce training for ministers and to hold Permanent Secretaries to account against their departments’ outcome delivery plans.

Policy Exchange’s Reform of Government Commission, chaired by Dame Patricia Hodgson published its report Government Reimagined: A Handbook for Reform, in May. The report, authored by Policy Exchange’s Head of Technology Policy, Benjamin Barnard, argued that the Government must embark on a comprehensive modernisation and reform programme

Policy Exchange launches Beyond COP26 research programme

Policy Exchange has launched a new research programme, Beyond Cop26, in the run up to the global climate conference that the UK will host in Glasgow in November. The programme is co-chaired by two former Energy Secretaries, Rt Hon Andrea Leadsom MP and Rt Hon Amber Rudd.

The launch report, The UK’s Green USPs, calls on the Government to focus on the UK’s three ‘Green USPs’ to drive global climate action. These are: Science and technology; Financial services; and political leadership on climate action.

Alongside the launch report, the co-chairs have published an opinion piece calling on the G7 to agree a common ‘carbon border adjustment mechanism’ (CBAM) and on the UK Government to implement a California style ‘Zero Emission Vehicle mandate’ to deliver the phase-out of petrol and diesel cars by 2030. Read the opinion piece in Times Red Box and coverage in The Times.

Amber Rudd and Andrea Leadsom discussed the new programme on Policy Exchange’s podcast, The Exchange. Watch on YouTube or listen on your preferred podcast provider.

Amber Rudd appeared on Times Radio to discuss the research programme and proposals for a California-style Zero Emission Vehicle mandate.

Read the full report here.

Policy Exchange and the Queen’s Speech

The Queen’s Speech, which set out the Government’s agenda for the new parliamentary session, reflected many of Policy Exchange’s research priorities. In economics, the Government’s commitment to increased capital investment reflects recommendations outlined in our report, Why the Government should spend more on capital. On housing, the Government’s planning reforms adopt the Building Beautiful agenda, which began at Policy Exchange, the recommendation for zonal planning permission being proposed in Rethinking the Planning System for the 21st Century. The support for new owners and renters reflects recommendations in Helping Generation Rent Become Generation Buy.

The speech covered central policy recommendations of the Judicial Power Project including legislation to deal with legacy issues from the Troubles in Northern Ireland and a Dissolution and Calling of Parliament Bill to end the fixed five-year period between general elections. Policy Exchange’s A Very British Tilt presaged the UK’s Integrated Review and argued that trade is central to the Indo-Pacific “tilt”, which was mentioned in the speech with a commitment by the Government to “deepen trade ties in the Gulf, Africa and the Indo-Pacific”. And finally, the importance of Academic Freedom and in particular, freedom of speech on university campuses will be addressed with legislation and the creation of a free speech champion, a policy priority we highlighted in our report Academic freedom in the UK .

Policy Exchange hosts India’s Minister of External Affairs and UK Foreign Secretary

Policy Exchange hosted Dr Subrahmanyam Jaishankar, Minister of External Affairs of India, for a keynote address on India and the United Kingdom in a Post-Covid World. “The Integrated Review locates UK as a Euro-Atlantic actor with an increasing stake in the Indo-Pacific,” said Dr Jaishankar, adding: “This obviously makes it much more relevant to Indian strategic calculations.”

He noted that the recommendations of Policy Exchange’s Indo-Pacific Commission were “very timely” and, on UK-India relations, said: “Our partnership was even otherwise getting ready for an upgrade; the new context has given it a greater urgency.”

In the Vote of Thanks, Rt Hon Dominic Raab MP, Foreign Secretary, said: “I can’t think of a better and technologically endowed high trust partner than India. So this relationship matters.” Watch the event in full here.

Policy Exchange hosts the launch of The Dignity of Labour with Jon Cruddas MP

Does work give our lives purpose, meaning and status? Or is it a tedious necessity that will soon be abolished by automation, leaving humans free to enjoy a life of leisure and basic income? Policy Exchange hosted Jon Cruddas MP for the launch of his book The Dignity of Labour and a discussion on these questions with Lisa Nandy MP, Shadow Foreign Secretary, and Rt Hon Jesse Norman MP, Financial Secretary to the Treasury, Chaired by Stephen Bush, Political Editor of the New Statesman. “There’s huge amounts of debate about the leaders of the respective parties… but absolutely nowhere, except at Policy Exchange today, is anyone actually digging beneath the surface,” said Lisa Nandy, adding that Jon Cruddas’s book was “the most important contribution to the political debate in the last decade”.  Watch the event in full

Ed Birkett, Senior Fellow, appears in front of the Transport Select Commitee

Ed Birkett, Senior Fellow in the Energy and Environment Unit at Policy Exchange, this week gave evidence to the House of Commons Transport Select Commitee for its inquiry into ‘Zero Emission Vehicles and road pricing’.  During the discussion, Ed covered the barriers and policy options to deliver the Government’s target to phase out new petrol and diesel vehicles by 2030. Committee members asked questions about the recommendations in Policy Exchange’s recent report, Charging Up, which recommended new policies to deliver a comprehensive network of chargepoints for electric vehicles. Watch a recording of his appearance here.

Policy Exchange hosts Dr Tony Sewell for discussion on race and ethnic disparities

In his first public event since publication of the report of the Commission on Race and Ethnic Disparities, Dr Tony Sewell CBE, Commission chair, explained the thinking and evidence behind the report and discussed its main recommendations.

The report, published at the end of March, caused controversy both by stressing ethnic minority success and challenging the conventional wisdom about ethnic group differences being mainly shaped by majority racism. Sewell debated the report, and the often extreme reaction to it, with some of the leading commentators on race and society.

“The report acknowledges that over 50 years things have significantly improved. Second that race is not the only factor in explaining racial disparities and third that some of the best strategies for change is when we find answers for everybody,” he said.

Integrated Review accepts Policy Exchange’s proposals on Indo-Pacific strategy, space and Net Assessment

The Government’s Integrated Review of Security, Defence, Development and Foreign Policy (IR), published this week, reflects a broad range of Policy Exchange’s recent research output. Notably, it argues for a “tilt” to the Indo-Pacific, perhaps the most conspicuous grand-strategic decision taken by the British Government in decades, reflecting the framework recommended by Policy Exchange’s Indo-Pacific Commission in A Very British Tilt: Towards a new UK strategy in the Indo-Pacific. The IR – whose lead author, No 10 Special Adviser John Bew, headed Policy Exchange’s Britain in the World Unit until 2019 – also recommends the shaping of a new international order, as argued for in Making Global Britain Work; putting the space domain at the core of the Government’s strategic vision for this country, as recommended by the work of Policy Exchange’s Space Policy Unit; and the adoption of Net Assessment as a cross-government capability, as recommended by A Question of Power: Towards Better UK Strategy Through Net Assessment. Read Alexander Downer, Policy Exchange’s Chairman of Trustees, on the IR in ConservativeHome, listen to him on Times Radio; and read Gabriel Elefteriu, Director of Research and Head of the Space Policy Unit in The Spectator’s Coffee House.

Read Policy Exchange’s Reflections on the Integrated Review here

£250,000 Wolfson Economics Prize 2021 seeks hospitals revolution

The Wolfson Economics Prize 2021, launched today in partnership with Policy Exchange, seeks planning and design ideas that will “radically improve” hospital care in the UK and around the world.

The Prize is evidence of a new focus on the long-term improvement in hospital provision in Britain and globally. The UK Government has already announced £3.7 billion of funding towards new hospitals in England for what it calls the “biggest hospital building programme in a generation”.

The judging panel – chaired by Rt Hon Prof Lord Kakkar, Professor of Surgery at University College London, crossbench peer in the House of Lords and Chair of the King’s Fund – will ask entrants for designs and plans for new hospitals that will “radically improve patient experiences, clinical outcomes, staff wellbeing, and integration with wider health and social care”. Entry is free and open to anyone.

History Matters Conference

Policy Exchange welcomed the Rt Hon Oliver Dowden CBE MP, Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport at the History Matters Project Conference. In an hour-long conversation with Trevor Phillips OBE, Chair of the History Matters Project, the Culture Secretary encouraged museums and other institutions not to be “pushed around by noisy campaign groups”.

He said his message to museums, galleries and other institutions was: “Just think as institutions about your wider duty to the nation; your wider duty to conserve and preserve our heritage. Don’t allow yourself to be pushed around by the zeitgeist of the day; take a longer-term view of things; make sure you do things in a rigorous way; and understand that your principal duty is to preserve and conserve our heritage.”

He also distinguished between ‘activism’ and ‘debate’ saying his concern “lies in that we avoid the situation where a group of people purport to speak for a larger community and don’t”.

The conference was the first event to bring together leading decision-makers and professionals in the museums and galleries sector and other experts in order to develop new public policy approaches than can be applied broadly.
It included a panel discussion on statues and the public space chaired by Peter Ainsworth, Chair of The Heritage Alliance and another on museums and galleries chaired by Nicholas Coleridge CBE, Chair of the Victoria and Albert Museum.

Strong Suburbs

Policy Exchange this week published ‘Strong Suburbs’, a report by Dr Samuel Hughes, Senior Fellow, and Ben Southwood, Head of Housing, Transport, and the Urban Space. The report notes that the Government has moved away from ‘top-down’ plans to encourage development in areas with housing shortages. Instead, it argues that a ‘bottom up’ approach driven by local communities will deliver popular and beautiful housing without the need for imposition.

The main proposal would let individual streets vote to give themselves planning permission allowing them to turn themselves from bungalows or semis into terraces

Rt Hon Robert Jenrick MP, Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government, said: “Policy Exchange has led the debate on empowering communities, winning support for development, and creating beautiful popular homes. The Government supports enabling communities to set their own rules for what developments in their area should look like, ensuring that they reflect and enhance their surroundings and preserve our cherished local heritage, and Policy Exchange is continuing this vital conversation.”

Read the report here and coverage of the report in the The Daily MailThe Telegraph, and The I.

The Future of the Union

It’s “plain common-sense and the responsible thing to do” to reject calls for a Scottish independence referendum during the Covid-19 pandemic. That is the verdict of Lord Dunlop, former Minister for Scotland and Northern Ireland – and author of an unpublished Government review on the workings of the Union – in an article for Policy Exchange.

His piece marked the launch of Policy Exchange’s Future of the Union Project – led by Adam Tomkins MSP and Eddie Barnes, a former adviser to Ruth Davidson – which will examine over the coming months how the Union can better work for all its constituent parts.

Lord Dunlop’s article observed that we are experiencing a “watershed moment” and called for new a Union of Co-operation, with “a re-vamped and enhanced Intergovernmental Council” helping to “manage disputes and facilitate joint decision-making”. Read the paper here – and coverage in The Sun here.

Eddie Barnes has written a blog for Policy Exchange on what Unionists can learn from remainers’ errors during the EU referendum. He argues that those that are committed to protecting the Union must also commit to ‘the need for real and lasting reform’ and not ‘phoney change’. Read his blog here.

Scott Morrison wins inaugural Grotius Prize

Policy Exchange was delighted to award the inaugural Grotius Prize –named after the founding father of international law, Hugo Grotius — to Hon Scott Morrison MP, the Prime Minister of Australia. This was in recognition of his work in support of the international rules-based order. The event was streamed live from London and Canberra.

A keynote speech from the Australian Prime Minister was followed by remarks from Rt Hon Boris Johnson MP, with a Vote of Thanks by Hon Alexander Downer AC,  Chairman of Trustees at Policy Exchange and former Foreign Minister of Australia.

The Australian Prime Minister welcomed the “timely publication by Policy Exchange’s Indo-Pacific Commission, A Very British Tilt: Towards a new UK strategy in the Indo-Pacific Region”. On this Commission’s core proposal for Britain to increase the priority accorded, toward the Indo-Pacific, Scott Morrison remarked: “I couldn’t agree more and have conveyed the same to Boris. I endorse the report’s vision for a reinvigorated community of free and independent nations with a single overriding goal. Namely, reinforce a sustainable rules-based order in the Indo-Pacific that is resilient but adaptable to the great power realities of the 21st century.”

Watch the event here and read our report here.

Policy Exchange is ‘pre-eminent think tank in Westminster,’ says Iain Dale

“If anyone was to draw up a list of the top twenty most influential think tanks in Westminster, can anyone seriously doubt that Policy Exchange would be at number one?” That’s the verdict of Iain Dale in the LBC presenter’s latest column for Conservative Home. He calls Policy Exchange “the pre-eminent think tank in the Westminster village” and notes our unique convening power, saying: “There are few organisations that could attract power players like Mark Carney and Alan Greenspan, or Dominic Raab and Mike Pompeo to appear on its platforms.”

Policy Exchange hosts Prime Minister for the launch of the authorised biography of Margaret Thatcher

Dean Godson, Director of Policy Exchange, was delighted to welcome the Prime Minister, Rt Hon Boris Johnson MP, to the official launch of the final volume of Charles Moore’s authorised biography of Margaret Thatcher, Herself Alone.

The event, hosted by Policy Exchange, was the Prime Minister’s first visit to a think tank since he took office. It was attended by some of the surviving dramatis personae from the Thatcher era and other senior figures from the world of politics, journalism and public life.

The Prime Minister praised the biography, saying, it is “not just the greatest recent work of biography but… also, in our lifetimes, the greatest work of modern British history”. Charles Moore, the author of the 20-year project, is a Senior Fellow at Policy Exchange and was previously Chairman of the Trustees. Watch the video of the speeches on YouTube

Rt Hon Michael Gove MP

Manifesto wins

Policy Exchange was delighted that the party election manifestos reflected the priorities of our cross-party research since the last general election (and even earlier). Ideas from at least 24 papers were contained in the Conservative, Labour, Liberal Democrat and Green 2019 manifestos – from social care to education, farming to judicial power. Explore the infographic showing which ideas were adopted by the different parties here.

A Central Question

Central banks face a range of questions, some of which relate to their actions during the Covid crisis and the dislocation of economies as a result of the pandemic, some reflect the continuing challenges of unexpectedly low inflation, interest rates and growth over the last decade and some arise directly out of their own policy actions, such as their loose monetary policy and Quantitative Easing.

Islamism and the Left

This paper seeks to consider the question of the relationship between Islamism (in all its forms) and parts of the Left, not just in France but more broadly. It proceeds from the assumption that such a relationship exists and is not simply tactical.

A Wait on your Mind?

and

The waiting list for elective treatment in the NHS in England has reached an unprecedented level. It is likely to become the defining NHS issue as we approach the next general election, and brings a very real human cost as millions endure a long and uncertain wait. So what can be done?

Social care reform is welcome but must be first step on bigger journey

This week’s announcement of a health and social care levy was hugely significant. Much has been made of the impact on the taxation system: a 1.25 percentage point increase in national insurance contributions across employee earnings and employer wage costs (representing a 2.5% overall increase in the tax rate on earnings). It’s a move that will raise £12-14bn a year, and take this Conservative Government into new territory on exchequer spending at a time the economy remains in a vulnerable position.

My three fears about Taliban-run Afghanistan

When the Taliban were toppled in Afghanistan in 2001, I had only been a member of Parliament – representing a constituency that has many Muslim, as well as non-Muslim, voters – for a matter of months. But I can remember well the mood of the House in the weeks that followed. No one was under any illusions. This wasn’t going to be easy. The West’s involvement in Afghanistan was likely to continue for years.

Policy win with MOD’s new Office of Net Assessment

In a recent speech the Defence Secretary, Rt Hon Ben Wallace MP, announced the creation of a “Secretary of State’s Office of Net Assessment and Challenge (SONAC)” encompassing war gaming, doctrine, red teaming and external academic analysis. Standing up a UK Office of Net Assessment reporting directly to the Defence Secretary – modelled on the Pentagon’s ONA – was the main recommendation of Policy Exchange’s 2018 report, A Question of Power: Towards Better UK Strategy Through Net Assessment, authored by Gabriel Elefteriu, with a Foreword by General Lord Richards of Herstmonceux, former Chief of the Defence Staff. The draft report’s reviewers included Air Marshal Ed Stringer, Director General of the UK Defence Academy and Joint Force Development who will now oversee the establishment of SONAC; and Professor John Bew, the Prime Minister’s Special Adviser for Foreign Affairs who is leading a No10 taskforce on the Government’s Integrated Review.

Sir Stephen Laws invited to help review the Human Rights Act

Policy Exchange congratulates Sir Stephen Laws KCB, QC (Hon), Senior Research Fellow in our Judicial Power Project and former First Parliamentary Counsel, on his appointment to serve on the independent panel to review the Human Rights Act 1998. The panel, chaired by Sir Peter Gross, former Lord Justice of Appeal, is to consider the Act’s operation over the past twenty years and the case for structural reform. In a lecture on the day of the panel’s announcement, Sir Peter referred to Policy Exchange’s work on Supreme Court reform, noting the foreword written by Lord Thomas of Cwmgiedd, former Chief Justice of England and Wales. Sir Stephen’s many publications for Policy Exchange on constitutional matters include this jointly authored submission to the Joint Committee on Human Rights. Read details of the announcement here.

Saving a lost decade

A new Policy Exchange report published this week, Saving a lost decade, argues that ministers must become directly accountable for tackling the inequalities that have been highlighted during the COVID-19 pandemic. The paper, authored by Richard Sloggett, Health and Social Care Lead, uses modelling to show that the Government is on course to miss a key manifesto pledge to increase healthy life years by five by 2035. Read the report and Foreword by Rt Hon Damian Green MP and Lord Filkin CBE here. 

The report featured in The Financial Times, with the recommendations endorsed by Steve Brine MP, former Public Health Minister, during a debate in the House of Commons, which can be viewed here.

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  • Tuesday, 13 April, 2021
    15:00 - 16:00

Launching Environmental Affairs, a new policy journal, General David Petraeus delivered a keynote speech presenting a framework for approaching geopolitical risks in an age of climate change. As environmental issues rise up the political agenda throughout the world, they increasingly touch on all areas of public policy.

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  • Thursday, 8 April, 2021
    17:00 - 18:00

Policy Exchange hosted Admiral James Stavridis (USN, Ret.) former Supreme Allied Commander Europe in conversation with General David Petraeus (USA, Ret.) former Commander of United States Central Command to discuss ‘2034: A Novel of the Next World War’ by Admiral James Stavridis and Elliot Ackerman

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  • Tuesday, 23 March, 2021
    15:00 - 18:00

Designing the Hospital of the Future was a half-day conference which explored the themes of this year’s Wolfson Economics Prize with panel discussions from members of the government’s hospital building programme, front-line clinicians, patient advocates and experts in the built environment.

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