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The Homes London Needs: Part 1 suggests 50,000 new homes need to be built every year in order to accommodate London’s growing population and address the current housing shortage. Recommendations include shifting the balance of land use in our capital from commercial (industrial) use to residential.
Britain Imbalanced lists a series of ideas to promote physical activity and prevent the rise of obesity. Double Olympic gold medalist James Cracknell proposes that schools should provide parents with advice linked to encouraging more sleep, physical exercise and eating nutritious meals. He also says Public Health England needs to do more to explore the issue of underweight children as evidence suggests people are more likely to die when clinically underweight than overweight.
Time to Care sets out how the presumed introduction of 30 hours a week free childcare for working parents of 3 and 4 year olds offers a potentially transformative possibility of evolving childcare and early years education into a mature public services market like 5-16 schooling or the NHS. The report sets out the benefits of such an approach and makes further recommendations for the Department for Education to take forward in this area.
Smart Devolution proposes that mayors should be required to set up data offices to create smarter, more productive cities. Learning the lessons from New York, the report examines how most cities could access and utilise the vast quantities of data available, to help improve public services, safety and economic growth.
Judging the Public Interest examines the Supreme Court’s quashing of the Attorney General’s decision to block disclosure of the Prince of Wales’ correspondence with ministers. The report argues that, in doing so, the judiciary confused the rule of law with the rule of courts and overstepped its constitutional limits. It recommends that Parliament act swiftly to overturn this wayward judgment, reaffirming the rule of law and Parliamentary authority.
Nearly 25% of all school children in London and 44% of the Capital’s workforce are exposed to levels of air pollution that exceed legal and healthy limits. Up in the Air analyses data from over 100 air quality monitoring sites across London. It shows the most polluted parts of the capital currently have levels of Nitrogen Dioxide (NO2) nearly four times the legal limit, with 12.5% of London’s total area exceeding the legal limit for NO2, and that deprived areas are more likely to be affected.
Together, a decade of loose public spending, fiscal stimulus and the aftermath of the financial crisis left Britain with the highest deficit in its post war history at 10.2% of GDP. Even half a decade later, that deficit is only half closed, and remains high internationally. Budgeting for Balance looks at the experience of fiscal consolidation so far, and how to approach the remainder of the task.
Whitehall Rules! shows how the Government could save £1 billion over the next four years by cutting the amount it currently spends on contractors by just 25%. In 2014/15, Government departments spent £1.01 billion on external contractors, up from £610 million in 2011/12.
DECC could save hundreds of millions of pounds and promote more competition and innovation among energy companies by sweeping away swathes of energy quangos at the Spending Review. Currently more than 30 bodies, many with overlapping functions and with an annual cost of £600m a year, govern energy policy, regulations and rules.
Higher, Further, Faster, More calls for BIS to redirect up to £532m of the Higher Education Funding Council (HEFCE) grant to improve the quality of Further Education. Whilst acknowledging the importance of our Higher Education sector, the report points out that universities are sitting on reserves of £12.3bn at a time when 1 in 4 FE colleges could effectively go bankrupt within a year.