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A UK Advanced Research Projects Agency could have a transformative impact on technological innovation in the UK – but the Government must embrace failure if it is to be a success. Learning lessons from the US, ministers must tear up the rule book of research funding bureaucracy and recognise that the majority of projects will not achieve their objectives, but that those that do will be will be transformational. The key to success will be allowing empowered and highly expert project managers to drive forward projects and allocate funding to the best people and projects wherever they can be found.
The planning system has little relevance to the country’s 21st century liberalised economy and society facing continuous change. It increases the costs of housing, living and doing business. Although the planning system has regularly been tinkered with in the past few decades, its fundamental principles are the same as when it was established in 1947 as part of a government program to establish a command-and-control economy.
To remain a competitive economy and to address the country’s housing shortage, the planning system is in urgent need of wholesale reform. This report puts forwards a blueprint for doing that.
Did the United Kingdom’s constitution work as it should have done in the process to leave the European Union? In essence, yes, says Sir Stephen Laws, Senior Fellow at Policy Exchange and a former First Parliamentary Counsel. He says the Government should resist invitations to undertake a programme of comprehensive constitutional reform, but it should be willing to consider limited changes to address weaknesses in our constitutional arrangements exposed by the Brexit process. In the Foreword, Rt Hon Lord Hague of Richmond says this “thoughtful and clear-sighted paper is a welcome warning about the dangers that [a written constitution] would bring, while making a constructive case for some necessary change”.
Why do 1.23 million people lack access to a bank account? What can be done to help the 10 million people who rely on non-standard credit? How can the Government ensure that everybody gets access to debt and financial advice?
This report, by Benjamin Barnard and Jos Henson Gric, shows how innovations in Financial Technology can improve access to banking, credit, insurance and debt advice services. It shows how the Government can encourage the one of the UK’s most innovative sectors to improve the lives of the poorest in society, particularly those on Universal Credit.
Prisons exist to keep the public safe yet in recent years the Ministry of Justice and Her Majesty’s Prisons and Probation Service has shown that they are not capable of properly managing the most dangerous offenders. This paper, by Richard Walton – a former Head of the Metropolitan Police’s Counter Terrorism Command – argues that it is time for the Home Secretary, and the Home Office, to supervise prisons as they did until 2007. The Ministry of Justice as it is currently configured should be abolished, with a new Lord Chancellor’s Department replacing it to work solely on courts and justice policy, at the same time enshrining in law and practice the independence of the judiciary.
The Government should use the opportunity of the stability created by the election result to reform the civil service to make it more democratically accountable and better able to deliver on the mandate of the government of the day. Better decision making, streamlined processes and improved accountability will lead to improved policy making and legislation, more effective delivery and improved public services, benefiting every part of the UK.
The rise of judicial power in the UK in recent years is a striking change in our constitutional arrangements – in how we are governed – a change that threatens good government, parliamentary democracy, and the rule of law. The expansion of judicial power is a function both of Parliament’s decision to confer new powers on courts, most notably by enacting the Human Rights Act 1998, and of the changing ways in which many judges, lawyers and scholars now understand the idea of judicial power. Prof Richard Ekins argues that Parliament is responsible for maintaining the balance of the constitution and should restate limits on judicial power, restoring the political constitution and the common law tradition.
Following an election that was as much about the NHS as it was about Brexit, recruiting more doctors and nurses should be one of the Government’s top priorities, according to new polling conducted for Policy Exchange, which shows that:
42% of voters cited a shortage of doctors and nurses as one of their three biggest concerns for the NHS and 61% want investment in these professionals prioritised by the Conservatives.
Boris Johnson should “seize the moment” and make “quick wins” in a number of key policy areas during his first 100 days to “reform public services and reshape the inner workings of government”, says John Howard, the former Australian Prime Minister in the Foreword to a new Policy Exchange report. The paper offers a blueprint for the new Government to implement some of its key manifesto pledges and other ideas during its first 100 days in office.
Increasing tree cover in the UK is a matter of land use policy.
This simple fact is often forgotten amid a rush to re-forest Britain through multiple schemes and interventions. This seemingly overlooks the fact that silviculture – the art and science of growing trees – is just one subset of land management.
In the last 25 years, several government-backed new forests have been established or proposed, from the mid-1990s National Forest to the most recent ‘Northern Forest’, which is to stretch across the North East and North West of England. Though laudable and important (we propose a project of our own in this report), these schemes alone are not sufficient to address more fundamental barriers to tree planting, many of which are the direct results of public subsidies for a particular model of farming.