Policy Exchange wins prize as best UK think on Energy and Environment issues
At the prestigious annual Prospect Think Tank of the Year Awards, Policy Exchange has won best UK think tank in the Energy and Environment category.
The unit’s research has ranged from the role of future nuclear modular reactors to cleaning up vehicle emissions in Britain’s cities. The judges recognised that our work paid “particular attention to the economic drivers behind environmental policy”. Just this week the Unit published a major new report setting how the UK can reduce carbon emissions and make UK heavy industry more competitive through an economy-wide carbon tax.
The work and convening power of Policy Exchange’s Britain in the World unit was also recognised at the awards, with the visit by US Defense Secretary James Mattis thought particularly notable.
Writing for ConservativeHome, its editor Paul Goodman has covered Policy Exchange’s plan to use better design and style to overcome Nimbyism. Goodman reports ”Brokenshire believes that it will be impossible to meet the nation’s housing need without gaining buy-in from local people… For him, consent is the key that will open the door to new homes. Both HCLG and Downing Street are enthusiastic about Policy Exchange’s stress on beauty.”
The report, containing exclusive new polling for Policy Exchange, said the housing crisis will only be solved if the developers of new homes place more emphasis on design and style to gain the support of existing communities. Building More, Building Beautiful: How design and style can unlock the housing crisis, with a Foreword from Secretary of State for Housing Rt Hon James Brokenshire MP, shows that support for traditional design is highest among lower socioeconomic groups and that Nimbyism can be overcome if plans better reflect people’s desire for traditional building design, like Victorian terraces and Georgian blocks.
In the first of a series by Policy Exchange experts reflecting on the Chequers Agreement and Brexit White Paper, our Chief Economic Adviser Dr Graham Gudgin reflects on their implications for the Irish border. Dr Gudgin, a former Special Adviser to the Northern Irish First Minister and leading expert on issues around the border, concludes that if the White Paper’s recommendations are implemented, the Northern Irish border ‘problem’ is largely solved.
The Prime Minister paid tribute to Policy Exchange’s successful track record of policy innovation, saying “can I give a sincere thanks to Policy Exchange for everything that you’ve been doing because its 16 years now that you’ve been making the case for a modern compassionate reforming conservatism. And if we just look at some of the ideas you’ve brought forward – free schools, police and crime commissioners – you’ve actually championed some of the defining policies of the last decade… I’m really interested in the report you’ve brought out today. I’ve long said that design quality is, I think, actually one of the keys to new housing, and can I just say that it’s important you carry on because there’s a real battle of ideas today because, let’s face it, the world is changing fast.”
In a wide ranging speech at Policy Exchange this morning, Environment Secretary Michael Gove challenged think tanks and politicians to tackle today’s economic problems, saying that “while capitalism has brought both growth and progress in the past, it is not delivering now.” He called for a new approach which “should place the importance of protecting, enhancing and growing natural capital at its heart”. Mr Gove also paid tribute to Policy Exchange’s work across a range of issues, saying that “the practical solutions Policy Exchange has developed have been implemented in Government and have made a profound difference for the better”.
Policy Exchange hosted a major conference considering the future of the Union, with keynote speeches from Ruth Davidson, Alistair Darling, Michael Gove, Arlene Foster, Brandon Lewis, 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.
In the UNISON case, the Supreme Court quashed the Government’s use of its statutory power to impose fees for employment tribunal proceedings. It ruled that the fees were unlawful because the level at which they had been set had the effect in practice of limiting access to justice. The judgment has been widely hailed as a victory for access to justice and another case in which courts have defended the rule of law from the executive. In this new paper for Policy Exchange’s Judicial Power Project, former First Parliamentary Counsel Sir Stephen Laws argues that the Supreme Court went badly wrong in the UNISON case, taking over a policy question that was not for it to decide.
High-quality textbooks and teaching methods are needed to ensure children from all backgrounds receive the rigorous education they deserve. According this new Policy Exchange report, inadequate materials for teaching the National Curriculum are holding back pupils in England and increasing teacher workload. Working in collaboration with respected institutions like the British Museum, the Government should support the creation and take-up of world-leading curriculum materials.
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.”
Hydrogen is making headlines again, but is the excitement justified? Josh Burke examines if we are really on the cusp of a ‘hydrogen economy’ and why the Government is right to target investment at lowering the high cost of producing large volumes of low carbon hydrogen.
Reflecting on the discussion of Paul Tucker’s new book on unelected power, Policy Exchange’s Head of Economics, Warwick Lightfoot – former Special Adviser to three Chancellors – argues that central banks have used their independence to maintain price stability by allowing asset prices to inflate separately. As was observed at the event, perceived gains to those with such assets may limit popular support for such measures when the next crisis hits.
The Times publishes letter on combat immunity by authors of Policy Exchange’s ‘Clearing the Fog of Law’ paper
In a letter published in The Times, the authors of Policy Exchange’s Clearing the Fog of Law paper address the President of the Law Society’s misplaced criticism of government proposals to revive combat immunity. The point of the proposals is to restore the law as it stood before the landmark decision of Smith & Others v Ministry of Defence and thus to beat back the judicialisation of war. The Law Society is wrong to say that this is an attack on compensation or accountability.
Rupert is responsible for overseeing Policy Exchange’s research programme and liaising with government and other bodies. Previously based in Downing Street and Westminster as Special Adviser to the Chief Whip, Rt Hon Gavin Williamson CBE MP, Rupert has also worked for the Charity Commission and Centre for Social Justice. His work on social policy in Breakthough Britain II included crime, welfare, addiction, veterans and military families. Rupert has appeared on television and radio to discuss research findings, as well as contributing to national newspapers and journals.
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- Thursday, 16 November, 2017
18:00 - 19:30
2017 is the 30th anniversary of Martin Bernal’s incendiary book Black Athena, which sent shockwaves through the worlds of classical and Afrocentric scholarship on its publication in 1987. In it, Bernal argued that classical Greek wisdom and culture (and thus the very basis of Western civilisation) in fact came from Africa, specifically ancient Egypt and Phoenicia, challenging many assumptions about the provenance of knowledge, and with it, historic intellectual justifications for white superiority. Policy Exchange will be seizing the opportunity afforded by this anniversary to re-examine the importance of Black Athena and investigate its intellectual, social and racial legacy.
Venue: Policy Exchange
- Thursday, 28 September, 2017
18:00 - 19:30
Policy Exchange was delighted to welcome the Hon Peter Dutton MP, Australia’s immigration minister, who reflected on the need for a carefully managed migration system in order to maintain public support for continuing new arrivals. A packed audience heard how the Australian government’s approach has tackled people trafficking while also ensuring Australia has the skilled migrants it needs and maintaining a generous settlement programme for refugees.
- Monday, 2 October, 2017
18:45 - 20:30
Addressing Policy Exchange’s party at the Conservative conference, Business Secretary Rt Hon Greg Clark MP paid tribute to our work, saying “Policy Exchange was in the vanguard of urging Government to think about industrial strategy”. A packed audience of supporters, MPs and members heard him call on people to make the case for free market ideas and say that “All across different subject areas Policy Exchange is thinking positively and creatively about the future”.