Research
Summary School closure has been damaging to the mental health of some children and to the educational progress of many. The long-term costs to individuals and the economy of this hiatus in schooling can be exaggerated, but are still likely to be substantial. The costs of the damage are likely to have fallen most heavily ... Continue reading
Warns of upside risks to inflation, arising from a post-COVID boom In its meeting of 12th January 2021, held by video-conference due to ongoing COVID-19 restrictions, the Shadow Monetary Policy Committee (SMPC) elected, by a vote of nine to zero, to hold rates in February. There was unanimity that the announced programme of additional QE ... Continue reading
Summary Home ownership in the UK comes in two main varieties: freehold and leasehold. ‘Freehold’ is ‘home ownership’ in the way most people probably understand that term: undivided, unconditional and permanent ownership. ‘Leasehold’ denotes a more limited form of ownership, which is not permanent (although typically very long-term), and which is shared with an ‘ultimate ... Continue reading
Research

Should the government care?

Summary Self-employed workers have lost out badly during the pandemic. Their numbers have so far fallen more sharply than the numbers of employees. There is evidence that government assistance has been poorly targeted: over half of the self-employed have received no help. The Chancellor has hinted that, in return for the assistance the government has ... Continue reading
Summary This briefing looks at the impact of the pandemic on the UK’s public finances and assesses the scale of the fiscal crisis. Some of the most common concerns are exaggerated. Others are not. The good news is that the increase in borrowing to pay for Covid does not itself have to be repaid; provided ... Continue reading
Research

Averting a post-pandemic staffing crisis in the NHS

Summary Shortages of PPE and ventilators have overshadowed shortages of doctors during the Covid-19 pandemic. Yet when normality returns and the NHS is swamped by a backlog of cases, the latter could be thrust to the forefront of public debate. The UK ranks 27th out of 36 OECD countries for number of physicians. Around 30 ... Continue reading
Research
Summary Following the Covid-19 lockdown, the UK labour market faces much higher unemployment and reductions in labour force participation as some groups withdraw from the labour market. Measures such as the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme and the Self-employment Income Support Scheme served a useful purpose, but governments cannot keep businesses on life support indefinitely. Job ... Continue reading
Research
Conditions for growth are not a mystery – we have seen them in the UK in the recent past. This paper examines the UK’s historical record, and identifies the best-performing periods in the past 40 years under two criteria: rising real government revenue and rising labour productivity. It then reviews the economic policies which facilitated ... Continue reading
Research
Summary Socio-economic systems should be understood as ‘complex’ phenomena that cannot effectively be controlled or managed through central planning. In general, markets and other decentralised governance mechanisms that rely on competition and signalling are better placed to facilitate learning and adaptation in conditions of complexity. Pandemics such as the new coronavirus are also complex systems ... Continue reading
Research

Reshaping the UK's Higher Education for the post-pandemic world

Summary Covid-19 is bursting the bubble in universities and higher education (HE), exposing the fundamentally unsound nature of the policy of successive governments and of the entire array of HE institutions. Many institutions were in a weak financial position prior to the pandemic. They are now facing a massive cash-flow crisis. The present difficulties could ... Continue reading