Hikes to national insurance funds a level of public services we can’t afford

The government’s plan to increase National Insurance has sparked the predictable furore.  The pressures to raise taxes to pay for the level of public services the electorate have come to expect is hardly new.  The welfare state was created immediately after the Second World War. For a time, the financial demands were held in check. […]

Embracing uncertainty is the only path out of the pandemic

A few days ago, Sajid Javid made one of the most thoughtful and encouraging statements by a government minister during the whole Covid crisis. Early In July, he seemed to be falling under the control of the modellers. The number of daily infections, he stated confidently, would soon reach 100,000, bowing to the so-called experts. […]

Boris Johnson has sown dangerous ambiguity over Covid rules with mixed messaging for Freedom Day

Sixty years ago, Daniel Ellsberg, as a graduate student at Harvard, wrote a now-seminal paper on behavioural economics. The conclusions of “Risk, ambiguity and the Savage axioms” pose a fundamental challenge to the conventional economic model of rational choice, as well as the Government’s current Covid strategy.  Despite its seemingly esoteric nature, an experiment carried […]

Levelling up will fail if Boris Johnson pushes for a nationwide approach

The phrase “levelling up” has permeated the political lexicon over the past year or so, but few seem to know exactly what it means or how to do it.  Andy Haldane, outgoing Chief Economist at the Bank of England, put some flesh on the bones at a timely Policy Exchange seminar last week.  For Haldane, […]

Rishi Sunak vs Boris Johnson: to spend or not to spend?

Rishi Sunak has directed his energy into recasting the Treasury back to its traditional role – the guardian of the public finances. The Chancellor notched up a substantial victory after education recovery tsar, Kevan Collins, resigned earlier this month, after his demand for £15 billion for catch-up programmes in schools was beaten down to a […]