Archive for the Public Policy Category

Child poverty is thankfully not rising – but the archaic definition needs to go

David Cameron is feeling the heat. This is not just a consequence of the sudden dramatic rise in London temperatures. The need to extract something meaningful from our EU partners and the increased threat of terrorist attacks are sleep-depriving problems. But the Prime Minister did have one

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Supply side success is a cure for the drug of deficit finance

George Osborne’s plan to run financial surpluses and use them to pay off government debt has been met with the usual set of whinges and whines, mainly from academic economists funded by the taxpayer. Of course, their arguments are based purely on what they believe to be

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How should London tackle its housing shortage?

The unrelenting climb in property prices and lack of affordability in the market has led to consensus amongst the public and policy makers that the UK is in the midst of a housing crisis. Average house price to median income ratio is a common measure of affordability

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Markets are good, but we need clear signals

Perhaps the most enjoyable aspect of the general election result is the abuse which is now being heaped on the metropolitan liberal elite from many quarters.  Theirs is truly a difficult mind set to comprehend, based as it is on an unshakeable belief in their own omniscience.

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The election, the polls and why someone was always going to be eating their hat….

Paddy Ashdown had to eat his hat. Alastair Campbell had to eat his kilt. In fact, the majority of the electorate has eaten a piece of metaphorical clothing. The inaccuracy of the pre-election polls has been blamed on the shy Tory voter and the influence of the

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Bribing the electorate: new rules of the game thanks to zero inflation

The temptation to believe in the concept of a free lunch is one which has proved irresistible to numerous governments through the ages. Henry VIII, for example, has seized popular imagination once again through the brilliant portrayal of him by Damian Lewis in Wolf Hall. Bluff King

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The 38 per cent tipping point on tax

Ed Miliband’s proposal to tax non-doms more harshly may be good, populist politics. But does it make economic sense? At most, the yield will be around £1 billion, even if people do not alter their behaviour in response to the change in policy. The actual amount generated could

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Do short-term governments affect the UK’s productivity?

Since the economic crisis labour productivity growth in the UK has been very poor. The Bank of England estimate that output per hour (productivity) is 16% lower than it should be given pre recession trends. With output recovering and high levels of employment, many argue that the

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Open borders or fair wages: the left needs to make up its mind

As published in the Guardian on Tuesday 24th March 2015 as part of their ‘Economics – Immigration Special’ Mass immigration increases inequality. This is the unpalatable fact the liberal left in Britain refuses to accept. Markets are imperfect instruments. But it is not necessary to subscribe to

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Do Budgets really matter?

All eyes will be on George Osborne’s Budget today. An immense amount of media attention and serious commentary will be devoted to it. But do Budgets really matter? How much difference would it make if successive chancellors simply did nothing, apart from indexing various allowances and benefits

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