Today’s action is the largest since the General Strike. But unlike previous strikes, the public are ambivalent about the unions’ actions and negative about the government’s handling.

With today’s public sector strike still taking place, Matt Cole looks at the comparisons that have been between this action and that of the recent past. Public support for the reasons behind the unions’ actions seems strong, however it appears less so for the strike itself. As for the Government, recent polls have found the majority feel it has handled […]

If the economic outlook continues to worsen, George Osborne will have to relax the pace of deficit reduction and take measures to increase demand in the economy.

Yesterday saw the Chancellor’s autumn statement. Tony Dolphin argues that the measures announced in this ‘mini-budget’ are not a real plan for growth. If increased demand is not generated – and only the government is in a position to do this – then unemployment and public sector borrowing will continue to rise in excess of previous predictions. Eighteen months ago, […]

The right to strike is an important one, but the public and private sectors should be treated equally. Government should ensure that when unions ballot members simultaneously, ballots are counted separately by employers.

Today sees the largest public sector strike since the 1970s. Tim Leunig argues that the ability for public sector employees to strike should be equal to their private sector colleagues – i.e. when unions ballot members simultaneously, these should be calculated separately by employer. He argues that this would lead to fewer strikes and fewer working days lost to strikes. […]

The coalition plans to reinvigorate local political leadership in major cities with elected mayors. Will local electorates say “Yes” this time?

Directly electing mayors on the London model is back on the political agenda. Eleven core English cities will be voting in May 2012 to decide whether they want to have one. These votes may radically increase the number of elected mayors and set city government decisively on a new path. But there may be fierce resistance may from local politicians […]

Recent political developments mean that Greece is no longer on the brink of economic collapse. But the European Commission, the ECB and the IMF will be keeping a close watch for some time to come.

The recent crisis of the Greek economy, and the threat of its withdrawal from the Eurozone, was only averted by the rejection of a referendum on the EU bail-out and the resignation of the country’s prime minister.  Kevin Featherstone argues that, while the situation has now stabilised, instability and uncertainty still remain. European and global economic institutions will be keeping […]

The Government’s Housing Strategy is a step in the right direction, but the goal of constructing enough homes for the projected increase in households is slipping out of our grasp.

Last week saw the concomitant announcement of the government’s intention to build almost half a million new homes by 2015, and a 99 per cent drop in affordable housing construction. Christine Whitehead finds the government’s strategy to be an encouraging move but it is essentially lacking in efforts to source a long-term solution to the housing crisis.  It was a unhappy […]

Deficit reduction is important, but it’s not the end of the story. If we are to achieve real long term growth, government must come up with creative solutions to overcome the institutional and productive constraints on the economy.

An obsession with deficit reduction has diverted attention away from the need to revamp the UK’s industrial base. Steve Coulter argues that the coalition government has belatedly turned its attention towards industrial policy with its ‘growth review’; but there is little sign so far of effective and novel policies. Tomorrow’s Autumn Statement will flag up lower growth and higher borrowing […]

Book Review: The Tyranny of Utility: Behavioral Social Science and the Rise of Paternalism

Arnaud Vaganay finds a courageous and original contribution to the field of behavioural economics in The Tyranny of Utility, but is not convinced by the author’s call for value-based policies in the context of the current debt crisis. The Tyranny of Utility: Behavioral Social Science and the Rise of Paternalism. By Gilles Saint-Paul. Princeton University Press. July 2011. Behavioural economics […]

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