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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.
The new Maths Curriculum will be published later this year, ready for schools to start in 2014. Ministers, now finalising their draft proposals, want the standards in mathematics expected of pupils in this country to equal those expected elsewhere.
Will the new curriculum succeed? Politeia's new study, Primary Problems for the New Curriculum: Tougher Maths, Better Teachers, analyses the draft curriculum.Its author, Prof David Burghes, welcomes the emphasis on basic academic knowledge and congratulates ministers on such emphasis. But, to aspire to the standards expected in some of the mathematically high performing countries, the final curriculum should be more demanding.
The UK Government Spending Ratio: Will it Return to the 1930s?
Public spending will be at levels of Gordon Brown, says Politeia's new economic spending analysis.
As the debate over 1930s spending ratios looks set to dominate the New Year’s political debate, Politeia’s analysis by the economist, David B. Smith*, considers what the figures for public spending really are.
In his commentary, The UK Government Spending Ratio: Will it Return to the 1930s?, the author shows that the changes to accounting procedures and the measures officially used to report public spending ratios tend to underestimate levels of public spending.
Smith proposes a more accurate model for measuring public spending. It gives a picture of the government’s spending plans which indicates that they are nowhere near the 1930s. Indeed, taking the chancellor’s current proposals, UK public spending in 2020 will be 11 per cent higher than in 1938 and just under 40 percent of GDP, the figure of Gordon Brown's early chancellorship. As Smith concludes:
'...general government spending is expected to be some 39.4% ... in 2019-20 rather than the officially projected 35.1% ... Public Sector Net Borrowing (PSNB) is expected to be around £50bn ... rather than the £23bn PSNB surplus for which the Chancellor is aiming. This projected borrowing ratio for 2019-20 would probably be sustainable, even if it might be disappointing, and our longer-term forecasts show a further diminution subsequently. However, that achievement relies on holding the growth in the volume of general government current expenditure to plus 1% per annum, which is roughly what has happened since 2010 (i.e., there have been no overall cuts in practice).'
Politeia recently published After 'Osbrown' by Douglas Carswell MP. In the pamphet, the now first UKIP candidate to be elected to Parliament warns agains another credit-fueled recovery. Here is some of the coverage: