September 23, 2020
Summary text: While one might question the Bill in many ways, says John Larkin QC, former Attorney General for Northern Ireland, it is badly mistaken to portray as “impunity” the Bill’s attempt to make limited provision for the future peace of mind of those from whom we ask so much.
September 3, 2020
August 4, 2020
In the context of the government’s plans to build 40 new hospitals, Policy Exchange is launching a call for evidence to inform a major piece of research into how we should build the next generation of hospitals. Drawing upon the experiences of the NHS in responding to Covid-19, we will explore whether the Government’s new building programme could potentially mark the most comprehensive reform of hospital building in England since the 1960s.
August 3, 2020
Britain’s universities are world-leading. Yet there is growing concern that academic freedom in these institutions is being undermined in a way that departs from the liberal traditions and democratic norms of British society. This paper uses one of the largest representative samples of UK- based academics carried out in recent years to explore the concern that strongly-held political attitudes are restricting the freedom of those who disagree to research and teach on contested subjects. The report sets out what might be done, in the form of legislation—specifically an Academic Freedom Bill—and other measures to ensure that a) universities support intellectual dissent, which drives progress and innovation and b) all lawful speech is protected on campus.
July 31, 2020
July 22, 2020
Transport is now the UK’s biggest source of climate-warming greenhouse gases. While other sectors slash their emissions, cars continue to produce 15% of our annual emissions, and the figure is still rising.
To solve this, the Government plans to ban new petrol and diesel cars by 2035. Here Policy Exchange sets out how this can be achieved, following best international practice.
July 15, 2020
Later this month, the UK and the US will conduct the third round of talks on a new trade agreement. The successful conclusion of a deal with the US will be challenging but would provide a major strategic prize for the UK. In a new report for Policy Exchange released today, “The art of a UK-US trade deal”, we examine the challenges and opportunities facing negotiators.
July 11, 2020
Research by Policy Exchange finds that fraud and error during the COVID-19 crisis will cost the UK Government in the region of £4.6 billion. The lower bound for the cost of fraud in this crisis is £1.3 billion and the upper bound is £7.9 billion, in light of total projected expenditure of £154.3 billion by the Government (excluding additional expenditure announced in the 8th July 2020 Economic Update). The true value may be closer to the upper bound, due to the higher than usual levels of fraud that normally accompany disaster management.
June 28, 2020
This compendium, part of Policy Exchange’s History Matters Project, represents a first attempt at drawing together a range of recent developments, which all turn on the place of history in the public square – including the removal of certain statues on public display, the renaming of buildings and places, and changes to the way history is taught in university curriculums. In cataloguing these examples, we do not offer any judgment on the actions of the individual or institution in question, today or in the past. Our aim is simply to provide a clear documentary record of what is happening – which can help inform public debate on these issues. At present, the evidence confirms that history is the most active front in a new culture war, and that action is being taken widely and quickly in a way that does not reflect public opinion or growing concern over our treatment of the past.
June 22, 2020
This paper argues that the Government should spend more on capital investment. The case was already strong before the Covid-19 crisis and has been strengthened since, as its financing has become more affordable. The paper highlights the importance of taking advantage of the present macro-economic environment afforded by low borrowing costs to provide stable – and sizeable – funding for new infrastructure through an increase in capital spending by the public sector. Additional capital spending, in excess of the fiscal rules, would be sustainable and affordable
June 10, 2020
Parliament must intervene to correct the Supreme Court’s misunderstanding of the process behind the detention of Gerry Adams in the 1970s, says Lord Howell, Minister of State for Northern Ireland at the time, in a research note for Policy Exchange. The paper follows on from Mishandling the Law by Prof Richard Ekins and Sir Stephen Laws.
June 9, 2020
This collection of essays is published alongside Policy Exchange’s report Rethinking the Planning System for the 21st Century. It brings together economists, architects, urban designers, campaigners, developers, lawyers and researchers to consider how the planning system can be reformed in a way that addresses the challenges of our modern economy and society.
June 8, 2020
On 20 March 2020, three days before the UK went into lockdown, the Joint Committee on Human Rights (JCHR) recommended that the Houses of Parliament approve the draft Human Rights Act 1998 (Remedial) Order 2019, which had been laid before Parliament on 15 October 2019. The JCHR concluded that there were no reasons why the draft order should not be agreed to by both Houses of Parliament and recommended that the draft order be approved. This conclusion was unsound. The Committee’s recommendation – and the Government’s draft order – should be rejected.
June 7, 2020
Vocational education and training, especially for those not heading to university, has been one of the biggest public policy failures of the last 25 years. The Covid-19 economic crisis, and how we emerge from it, is an opportunity to do something about it.
The essays in this collection focus on several different aspects of the problem: the lack of decent apprenticeships for school-leavers, the loss of higher manual and technical skills and the decline
June 4, 2020
The UK is enduring a health and economic crisis. Despite near-term uncertainties, we believe that a new macro-economic framework can help the UK achieve stronger future growth.
A new macro-economic policy framework is needed, as outlined here, based on the three arrows: of credible fiscal activism; monetary and financial stability based on a new remit for the Bank of England; and a supply-side agenda.
Low borrowing costs create a likely lengthy window of opportunity to emerge from this crisis without being panicked into policy measures such as austerity, but it is possible that inflation and yields could rise, so it is not a risk-free option. Success depends upon a clear and credible policy approach.
June 3, 2020
Military commanders and decision makers understand that plans have to be made to work, within a time frame and to an agreed outcome. Everyone within the structure of planning and delivery understands that their responsibility, authority and accountability are evidently embodied in their respective role. This culture of trust and credibility is not always evident in some Whitehall bastions. This may not matter much in normal times, but can create frictions and diversions in a time of crisis, says Chris Brannigan, former Special Adviser to the Prime Minister on Defence matters.
May 30, 2020
The Supreme Court has allowed Gerry Adams’s appeal against his 1975 convictions for escaping from lawful custody. When a court quashes a conviction 45 years later, one might imagine that new evidence must have come to light. Not this time: the case turned on a question of law. The Supreme Court ruled that Mr Adams had not been lawfully detained at all, hence his “escape” was not from lawful custody. As Prof Richard Ekins and Sir Stephen Laws set out, this ruling opens the door for Mr Adams, and for others, to bring proceedings against the government for compensation for false imprisonment. It also poses a very serious challenge to the ordinary functioning of government.
May 10, 2020
The coronavirus crisis underlines the need for an education and training system that is better aligned with the economic and social needs of the UK, says David Goodhart in this research paper. We can no longer afford the luxury of a wasteful mismatch produced by low value degrees and a disorganised approach to vocational training. The current crisis also offers an opportunity to cut through many of the normal blockages and vested interests, not least since we may – in the wake of the coronavirus crisis – be moving into a period of high unemployment, which will require a radical rethinking of current policy. This paper sets out three reforms that would help to improve the UK’s training and education.
May 8, 2020
This paper examines what lessons can be learned from the first stage of the coronavirus crisis and applied to legislating for the next stage. The focus will be on the aspects of the legislative response that have had the greatest impact on the largest number of people – the so-called “lockdown” rules.
Zoonotic pathogens (those that originate in animals) are a growing risk to human populations. There were three times as many outbreaks in the 1990s as in the 1940s, and cases continue to rise. The majority of new infectious diseases originate in animals, including well-known diseases such as SARS, avian flu, Ebola and HIV. Whilst too early to say for sure, it is likely that SARS-CoV2 (the virus that causes COVID-19) originated in bats. Here Policy Exchange examines what is to be done to reduce the threat to human health and the global economy.
May 6, 2020
Dr Gudgin’s Policy Exchange research note shows that with the available data it is not yet possible to reach a definitive conclusion on which jurisdiction – Northern Ireland or the Republic – has the higher death rate during the coronavirus crisis, but that the most reasonable judgement is that death rates in Northern Ireland and the Republic are approximately the same.
April 22, 2020
The coronavirus crisis proves the artificiality of the funding divide between the NHS and social care, says a new Policy Exchange research note. The paper is authored by Richard Sloggett, Policy Exchange’s Health and Social Care Lead – until recently Special Adviser to Matt Hancock, the Health and Social Care Secretary.
The paper – Ending the divide – argues that the Government’s recent promises on social care – cross-party talks and a manifesto pledge that “nobody needing care should be forced to sell their home to pay for it – must now be strengthened.
April 16, 2020
The UK Government should extend its Five Pillar Testing Strategy to a Six Pillar Testing and Tracing Strategy by introducing digital contact tracing as a Sixth Pillar. A Testing and Tracing Strategy should bring together expertise from the Department of Health, NHSX, NHS Digital, Police, Military and the Intelligence Agencies, to create a new independent national 24/7 Testing and Tracing Command Centre.
April 14, 2020
The Government has outlined an audacious package of measures aimed protecting as much of the UK’s productive potential as possible. But it is an outlier among comparable European economies in that it is yet to announce measures to help start-ups and pre-revenue firms. Jan Zeber and Dr Gerard Lyons outline the unique challenges faced by those firms and what can be done to support them.
April 3, 2020
The government has outlined an audacious package of measures aimed at dealing with the economic consequences of COVID-19, but in a fast- moving environment, it should be no surprise that policy has to continue to evolve. There have already been four fiscal packages in recent weeks, beginning with the Budget, then one focused on the corporate sector, the next on employees and last week’s targeting the self-employed. This has been supported by monetary policy. Despite this, further action is needed supported by another fiscal boost and further monetary action. It is not only the scale of the stimulus that needs to increase, but the execution of the policies. Also, the policy reaction on job protection has been impressively large, but the lack of any precedent means we cannot be certain how the measures will work.
March 27, 2020
On Thursday, the Chancellor unveiled his fourth round of policy measures to boost the economy during the Coronavirus crisis. He announced what he called a coherent, coordinated and comprehensive scheme for the self-employed. This positive approach from the Chancellor, and the speed of the Government’s response, is worthy of congratulations. Yet inevitably, in this fast-moving crisis, there remain some areas to iron out, largely linked to the policies’ likely execution and administration. The biggest challenge is the delay, as the measures unveiled will take a couple of months to implement, and the strain that this may place on those self-employed who do not have access to income during this time.
March 22, 2020
The Coronavirus pandemic represents the biggest challenge to UK police since the Second World War, according to Richard Walton, Senior Fellow at Policy Exchange and former Head of Counter-Terrorism Command at the Metropolitan Police. The paper – Policing a pandemic, part of a new series from Policy Exchange examining the policy impact of the coronavirus pandemic – recognises that, in the words of the Chief Medical Officer Prof Chris Whitty, the response of the British public to disasters and emergencies tends to be “extraordinary outbreaks of altruism”. It also notes that some aspects of criminal behaviour are very likely to decrease during periods of social distancing, for example alcohol-related disorderly behaviour, including violence that can occur in and around bars, pubs, nightclubs and restaurants, reducing police demand for emergency response calls. But the paper warns of a minority who will exploit the pandemic for criminal purposes and sets out new challenges that are likely to be faced by the police.
March 20, 2020
In this paper, which is the revised text of his recent lecture for Policy Exchange’s Judicial Power Project, John Larkin QC reflects on the state of the United Kingdom’s constitution. The paper discusses an aspect of an important provision of the European Convention on Human Rights — the procedural obligations under the Article 2 provision on the right to life, and its implications for how policy on the legacy of the Northern Ireland Troubles is to be made.
March 8, 2020
The startling revelation that the Labour Party is threatening to expel Trevor Phillips on grounds of ‘racism’ and ‘Islamophobia’ will be received in different ways. On the one hand, it looks like an act of folly from a party leadership whose power has been waning since the general election. Alongside this, this regrettable case is significant for the extent to which it underlines the nature of the ‘Islamophobia’ definition that has been adopted by a number of political parties and civil society groups over the last year – with Labour being one of those leading the way when the party adopted the definition in March 2019.
February 24, 2020
In 2014 Policy Exchange published the seminal report Watching the Watchmen: The future of school inspections in England. While Ofsted today is a much stronger, higher performing and robust organisation than it was in 2014, there is no public body so perfect that it cannot benefit from external scrutiny.