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As 2014 opens, the news from the Treasury seems upbeat. Growth is back. Economic forecasts are being revised upwards. The mood has switched from gloom to boom.
In After Osbrown: Mending Monetary Policy, Douglas Carswell MPfor Clacton, who previously worked in fund management, warns all is not what it seems. The warning signs are already there: this may yet prove to be another credit-induced recovery. The UK is increasingly dependent on consumer spending and mortgage debt. Savings and investment are down. The UK’s current account deficit is widening.
Roger Cashmore, David Mowat, Simon Taylor
Energy costs are now centre-stage in the policy debate at Westminster as both government and opposition promise to tackle rising costs. But if energy is to be affordable in the longer term, a secure supply of energy is needed. So too is a variety of sources. For that, says Politeia’s Nuclear Options: Powering the Future, nuclear will be needed.
Its authors*, Professor Roger Cashmore, Dr Simon Taylor and David Mowat MP, welcome the plan to build Britain’s first nuclear reactor for over 20 years at Hinkley Point - a first step towards reversing the decline of UK nuclear power. Nuclear, which today accounts for around 20 per cent of electricity generation, is set to diminish as all nuclear power stations are due to close in the next decade.
David Butterfield, Stephen Anderson, Katherine Radice and Dominic Sullivan
Latin in the new curriculum and GCSE is in danger of being the Cinderella of foreign languages. So far the official remit threatens two penalties. Secondary schools may not offer Latin as an option for the languages National Curriculum of 11-14 year olds (although primaries can). And, so far, the proposals for GCSE Latin do not include any specification to allow translation from English into Latin as an examinable option.
To the authors of Politeia’s new study, Latin for Language Lovers: Ancient Languages, the New Curriculum and GCSE, these omissions should be rectified when it comes to the final framework.
The Coalition’s welfare reforms aim to ensure that working people earn more than those on benefit and that unemployed people can find and keep a job. These are widely welcomed. But, says Frank Field MP, the Labour Member of Parliament for Birkenhead, more radical change is needed if the system is to be effective, affordable and also fair.
In Working Welfare: Contributory Benefits, the Moral Economy and the New Politics, Mr Field, a former minister for Welfare Reform and Chairman of Parliament’s Social Security Select Committee, says if welfare is to work, thecontributory insurance principle must be restored to the National Insurance System. Contributors and tax payers should own their individual ‘pots’ and new mutual societies should run the system on their behalf.
John McFall, Kent Matthews, Patrick Minford, David Green, Jamie Dannhauser, John Hodgson, Scott Cochrane, David B. Smith, Edward George
The financial crisis of 2007-8, its aftermath and the bank bailouts which followed have prompted an intense interest in the financial sector and its future regulation. Politicians have responded with a series of measures to regulate and prevent a recurrence. Banks will be obliged to have higher capital ratios; investment banking will be separated from retail and the presumption will be that in future there will be no bailouts.
The authors of Politeia’s new volume*, The Financial Sector and the UK Economy: The Danger of Over-Regulation,who include some of the country’s most distinguished economists and others with specialist knowledge of the financial services industry, are in no doubt that there are serious problems to be tackled. But they raise concerns about the emphasis, volume and efficacy of current measures, which may not bring the intended results or may prove counter effective.