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  • Abolish NICs....properly

    Abolish NICs....properly

    Ryan Bourne | | Economy
    A simple tax system is a pillar of any long-term strategy for growth. This is why I was delighted by the pre-Budget rumours of the possible merging of NICs with income tax.As David Martin outlined in Abolish NICs : NICs are complicated, create perverse incentives and are by ...
  • Why care for Budget day curiousity?

    Why care for Budget day curiousity?

    Administrator CPS | | Economy
    Post by David Gibson Budget Day is a curious old thing. Like much of parliamentary business, it is essentially just another tradition accompanied by some peculiar formalities. Take for example, the obligatory cheesy photo-op as the proud Chancellor thrusts high his red box of joy to the ...
  • Library closures and politics today

    Library closures and politics today

    The outrage in reaction to planned library closures has highlighted a great problem with politics today: the tendency to polarise debate into two opposed camps with no middle ground in between.When many councils responded to cuts by proposing to close some libraries, critics adopted wildly exaggerated ...
  • Enterprise Zones

    Enterprise Zones

    Ryan Bourne | | Economy
    The Chancellor George Osborne recently announced that he would look to create at least 10 ‘Enterprise Zones’ in the forthcoming budget. These were no doubt at least partly inspired by the Enterprise Zone policy of Margaret Thatcher, which used localised supply-side policies to eliminate dereliction and entice businesses to ...
  • R&D - It's Not Rocket Science, but It Could Be

    R&D - It's Not Rocket Science, but It Could Be

    A guest post from our intern - David Gibson Last Thursday, I attended a lecture by Prof Brian Cox at the Royal Geographic Society. The event was the Douglas Adams Memorial Lecture in aid of Save the Rhino International. Besides conserving endangered pachyderms and trying to explain ...
  • If I could turn back time

    If I could turn back time

    Ryan Bourne | | Public Services
    Following on from last week's blog post on cuts, I have been reviewing the projected scale of government spending in each department by 2014/15.I thought it would be good to share the data with you to show the scale of real spending across different departments by 2014/15 - and how far this takes the area back ...
  • Shout if you see Ed Llewellyn in Waterstones

    Shout if you see Ed Llewellyn in Waterstones

    Tim Knox | | General
    The most bizarre couple of sentences that I have read recently came from Jonathan Powell's memoir, The New Machiavelli.Powell, then Chief of Staff to Tony Blair, is writing about the immediate aftermath of 9/11:"After 9/11 it was clear that military action was essential, but we were all a ...
  • Tackling the cycle of dependency – is IDS’ welfare reform tough enough?

    Tackling the cycle of dependency – is IDS’ welfare reform tough enough?

    Administrator CPS | | Social Policy
    Much of the debate over Iain Duncan Smith’s Universal Credit has centred on whether or not there are jobs for the millions of unemployed and whether they have the skills to meet employers’ needs. Iain Duncan Smith insists that many of them could find unskilled jobs and ...
  • TAKE OUR TEST: Do you know your Big Society from your Third Way?

    TAKE OUR TEST: Do you know your Big Society from your Third Way?

    Tim Knox | | Social Policy
    Twenty years after Mrs Thatcher left office, we all still have a clear idea of what she stood for. Mention “Thatcherism” to anyone over the age of thirty and you will get a pretty clear response.  We don’t seem to be quite there yet with the Big ...
  • Smoke and mirrors in the cuts debate

    Smoke and mirrors in the cuts debate

    Ryan Bourne | | Economy
    The quality of the debate around spending cuts has been tarnished by excessive scare-mongering on the one hand, and clever statistics on the other.If you believe groups like 'False Economy' you will regard cuts as resulting in decimated public services - whilst some Conservative MPs and commentators ...
  • The Minimum Wage and Youth Unemployment

    The Minimum Wage and Youth Unemployment

    Ryan Bourne | | Economy
    This morning John Prescott led a Twitter counter-attack against the Adam Smith Institute, which had suggested that the national minimum wage for young people should be abolished as a means of helping to cure the UK's youth unemployment problem.Their argument was simple: high youth unemployment is a symptom of ...
  • Cameron and Reagan: two very different views of government

    Cameron and Reagan: two very different views of government

    Tim Knox | | General
    The Coalition has some bold ambitions. For example, David Cameron said that he wanted the new coalition administration to be "the greenest government ever" (speech, 13 May 2010). The Conservative Manifesto at the last election promised that “We will make Britain the most family-friendly country ...
  • Tax Policy for Growth

    Tax Policy for Growth

    Ryan Bourne | | Economy
    Whilst scouring through some academic literature this morning, I came across an interesting paper in The Economic Journal on "Tax Policy For Economic Recovery And Growth".Reviewing historical OECD data, it comes to some important conclusions about the best tax reform policies (with any changes revenue neutral) to enhance short and ...
  • Francis Maude has converted me to the Big Society agenda

    Francis Maude has converted me to the Big Society agenda

    Ryan Bourne | | Social Policy
    Whilst most of you were out last night gazing into your lover’s eyes over a candle-lit pasta dish, I found myself attending a Big Society debate in the Grand Committee Room of the House of Commons.  I have to admit, I almost didn’t bother. The last thing I wanted to ...
  • How high's inflation, mama? 4% and rising...

    How high's inflation, mama? 4% and rising...

    Ryan Bourne | | Economy
    The Bank of England's inflation headache is looking increasingly like a migraine. CPI inflation is up to 4% in the year to January, and the more accurate RPI measure has increased from 4.7% to 5.1%, with the increases thought to be driven by commodity prices and the VAT hike. Economic ...