Policy Exchange hosted a major conference considering the future of the Union, with keynote speeches from Ruth Davidson, Michael Gove, Arlene Foster, Brandon Lewis, Alistair Darling, Jim Murphy and Theresa Villiers. In bringing together speakers from different parties, different nations and opposite sides of the Brexit debate, we demonstrated that unionism can be the bridge between the different elements in our divided society. We also published The State of the Union, a new paper by Professor Arthur Aughey of Ulster University, in which he says that the United Kingdom is a remarkably enduring constitutional arrangement and a surprisingly cohesive national state.
The Evening Standard strongly urged the Mayor of London to read Policy Exchange’s latest report Better Brownfield, for ideas to tackle London’s housing crisis. 1,220 sites across London covering 43 Hyde Parks can between them accommodate between 250,000 and 300,000 new homes alongside workplaces, according to new analysis carried out by Create Streets for Policy Exchange. The Evening Standard strongly endorsed the report, saying “What’s smart about the report, published by think-tank Policy Exchange, is that it tries to defuse the battle over planning that makes building new homes so hard. It’s good to see a centre-Right body face the challenge of shaping London, as the Manhattan Institute does in New York.” The editorial concluded: “London’s Mayor, Sadiq Khan, likes to say that he’s making housing a priority. But we’re still waiting for action. He should read this report and get going.”
Policy Exchange has launched a major new unit dedicated to London and Londoners – to be headed by Liam Booth-Smith, who joins the Policy Exchange team. Liveable London will champion new ideas to make London a better place to live and work. Accompanying the launch, Policy Exchange released a major new report – endorsed by the Evening Standard – setting out how 250,000 new homes could be built in the capital.
As the Government deals with the Russian threat, former Prime Minister David Cameron reminds us of another: Islamism
Speaking at a Policy Exchange conference in Washington DC, former Prime Minister David Cameron warned of the continuing threat to the West posed by Islamism. Paul Goodman observed on ConservativeHome that no other UK think tank has ‘the reach to bring together 50 or so experts, wonks, and diplomats in America’s capital for an event like this’.
The Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, Rt Hon Boris Johnson MP, set out his vision for a liberal Brexit in a speech given at Policy Exchange. Mr Johnson urged Remainers and Leavers to unite behind the opportunities that leaving the EU affords. He said that there is a case for future regulatory divergence from the EU: “We would be mad to go through this process of extrication from the EU, and not to take advantage of the economic freedoms it will bring.” In many areas, however, such as security co-operation and cultural exchange, there would continue to be high levels of engagement.
With 9 million people reporting that they are always or often lonely, as a society have we structured loneliness into our lives? Loneliness can be triggered by moments of transition that can happen to us all: the birth of a child, retirement, relationship breakdown, being a newcomer to this country, returning from serving in our armed forces, starting university, moving home, bereavement. The places where we came together – like churches, pubs and the workplace – have changed out of all recognition. Many of our connections have been turned into transactions. Rachel Reeves MP, Co-Chair of the Jo Cox Commission on Loneliness, set out what the Commission has learned and gave her thoughts on how we can create a less lonely world. Neil O’Brien OBE MP responded, with the discussion chaired by Daily Mirror Columnist Ros Wynne-Jones.
Following the Prime Minister’s visit to Japan last week, Policy Exchange’s Britain in the World Project publish a report by unit head John Bew and David Martin Jones, Visiting Fellow at Policy Exchange. They advise that Asia is of growing strategic importance to the UK’s long-term prosperity but this is likely to mean more involvement in the region’s security problems. The first principle of UK involvement in Asia must be to bolster existing alliances and to preserve the existing international order, but it must be understood that this is likely to cause tension when it comes to relations with China.
This major new Policy Exchange report sets out the once in a generation opportunity that Brexit offers our nation to reform its agricultural and environmental policy. Since 1973, UK farm and food policies have conformed to the rules and objectives of the Common Agricultural Policy (CAP) — the EU’s principal policy programme. Doing so has, at great expense, reduced Britain’s agricultural productivity by lessening competition and supporting inefficient farmers. It has also increased costs for consumers. This report outlines opportunities to improve policy by focusing on four main interest groups: consumers, producers, the wider rural economy, and the environment. This report offers timely and comprehensive analysis and answers to some of the most pressing policy questions of our day.
In a new report published last week, Policy Exchange stresses the vital role of Parliament in shaping debates about Britain’s place in the world, and urges the building of greater cross-party consensus on foreign policy. It stresses the role of the Defence and Foreign Affairs Select Committee in the context of a hung Parliament. The report was published alongside a new database of MPs’ voting records on key issues of national security since 2010, as well as their constituency positions on Brexit — the most detailed resource of its kind ever created. In a Foreword to the report, Tom Tugendhat MP, the new Chair of the Foreign Affairs Select Committee said, ‘Policy Exchange is at the forefront of new thinking about national security and the UK’s place in the world’. The report was covered in The Daily Mail.
Central banks should use the relatively benign economic conditions to reorientate money policy argues Warwick Lightfoot – himself former special adviser to three chancellors. As the world economy has recovered, central banks need to re-examine their lax approach to tools such as interest rates so that they can respond to any future crisis. Not doing so will leave their arsenals worryingly empty.
The recent cold snap – and the ensuing spike in home heating oil prices – underscores the decarbonisation challenge in Northern Ireland, argues Policy Exchange’s Matt Rooney.
20 years on from the Good Friday Agreement, Lord Bew – Emeritus Professor of Irish Politics, Queen’s University Belfast – finds the accord in relatively good health. Despite concerns generated by the UK’s decision to leave the EU, cross-party support for the Agreement has increased and there are signs that the DUP & Sinn Fein are gearing up to try to restore power sharing.
In a profile of Tom Tugendhat MP, the new Chairman of the Foreign Affairs Select Committee, for ConservativeHome, columnist Andrew Gimson pays tribute to his work for Policy Exchange on ‘lawfare’ — describing The Fog of Law and its successor Clearing the Fog of Law as “the UK equivalent of the Manhattan Institute’s “Broken Windows” moment”. It drastically changed the terms of the debate and led to decisive action to deal with the problem.
John Blake – Policy Exchange’s Head of Education and Social Reform – speaks to the BBC’s Daily Politics program about education reform.
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- Wednesday, 13 September, 2017
18:00 - 19:30
Education improvement is a key objective of policy makers and educationalists around the world. To address this need Tim Oates CBE, Cambridge Assessment’s Director of Assessment Research and Development, has led research into and now written A Cambridge Approach to Improving Education – using international insights to manage complexity where he sets out his findings and guiding principles for policy makers. He addressed Policy Exchange, the UK’s most influential think tank on education in the past 15 years, to outline his findings and further the debate on how best to improve education here, and around the world. His talk was followed by a response from UCL’s Dr John Jerrim.
Venue: Policy Exchange
- Tuesday, 12 September, 2017
8:30 - 10:30
Policy Exchange hosted top experts from industry and Parliament for a debate on the future of Britain’s electricity system and the potential role of small modular nuclear reactors in meeting our energy needs. Rachel Reeves MP (Chair of the Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy Committee) introduced our distinguished panel of speakers including Rt Hon Lord Howell of Guildford (former Secretary of State for Energy), Harry Holt (President of Rolls-Royce Nuclear) and Dr Jenifer Baxter (Head of Energy and Environment at the Institution of Mechanical Engineers). Lord Howell’s comments on the opportunities Brexit presents for nuclear research were covered by the Telegraph.
Venue: Policy Exchange
- Thursday, 7 September, 2017
18:00 - 19:30
A discussion with John Godfrey (Former Director of Policy at No 10), Fraser Nelson (Editor of the Spectator), Terrie Alafat (The Chartered Institute of Housing), Phillip Barnes (Barratt Developments Plc), and Susan Emmett (Head of Policy Exchange’s Housing Unit).