Publications

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Recent Publications

History Matters Project

History Matters Project

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.

Why the Government should spend more on capital

Why the Government should spend more on capital

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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

Planning Anew

Planning Anew

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.

Against Executive Amendment of the Human Rights Act 1998

Against Executive Amendment of the Human Rights Act 1998

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.

The Training We Need Now

The Training We Need Now

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

A pro-growth economic strategy

A pro-growth economic strategy

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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.

Operation COVID-19

Operation COVID-19

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.

Mishandling the Law

Mishandling the Law

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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.

A training opportunity in the crisis

A training opportunity in the crisis

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.

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