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Money for Nothing argues that new fiscal rules should bind future governments to a spending envelope based on reducing the UK’s debt-GDP ratio to a sustainable level. The report highlights the scale of the challenge and argues that strict penalties must be put in place to ensure that politicians stay within the rules, including automatic nominal freezes to public sector pay, the state pension and benefit payments.
Electoral Omission highlights how the administration of elections in the UK remains dangerously inefficient and open to fraud and predicts that there will be up to 15.5 million errors on the UK’s electoral registers at the time of next year’s General Election. The report recommends the introduction of targets for the maximum number of omissions and errors in the electoral register and annual checks to measure accuracy, along with small council tax rebates to encourage people to complete and return their voter registration forms.
Making Contributions Count proposes a new unemployment insurance scheme which will put personal contribution at the heart of the welfare system. The scheme would see people who have worked hard and paid their taxes able to draw from a contributory pot to provide a greater level of out of work support if they need it. Upon retirement, the contributions would be released as part of an individual’s pension package, which could see people who worked all their lives receiving in excess of £10,000.
Work 2.0 provides a blueprint for how the Work Programme – the government’s flagship welfare-to-work policy – should be improved, including ideas on how to better assess jobseeker needs, how to integrate the Programme into the structures of Universal Credit, and how to better recognise local labour market conditions.
A “perfect storm” of challenges could see over 3,000 primary schools (20%) falling below the government’s tough new minimum standards in 2016. Primary Focus says the most effective way to ensure teachers and schools have the capability and capacity to cope with these challenges is to convert all primary schools into Academies, and then ask each school to join an Academy ‘chain’ by 2020.
Silicon Cities: Supporting the development of tech clusters outside London and the South East of EnglandEddie Copeland and Cameron Scott
The technology revolution is failing to reach all parts of Britain. Silicon Cities argues that ‘clusters’ – geographic concentrations of interconnected companies and institutions in a particular field – are the most effective way of boosting the technology sector across the country, and makes a number of recommendations as to how this can be achieved.
Written by inner-city crime writer Gavin Knight, The Estate We’re In calls for politicians from all parties to pledge to turn around the most deprived council estates within the next decade. The report highlights how decades of neglect and ghettoization have led to acute social problems and, using case studies to extract best practice, draws out the key lessons for policymakers in how to turn around the worst housing estates.
Parks and other urban green spaces are highly important to the social and economic wellbeing of the country. However, as local authority budgets have been squeezed, public funding of parks and open spaces has declined. In light of this, Green Society suggests a number of innovative ways to protect and improve the UK’s urban green spaces including the idea of a council tax rebate for local residents who volunteer to maintain nearby green spaces.
Both Labour and the Conservatives have recently called for more schools to run longer days – either to provide more opportunities for extra curricular activities, to help learning, or to provide a safe and secure place for childcare for working parents. Our report, and accompanying polling from YouGov, looks at what a longer day might look like in practice.