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
Research
Summary Covid–19 is provoking a major reorientation of the foreign policy of the US and Europe. At the heart of this is their changing relationship with China. Before the Coronavirus there were concerns over the actions of the Chinese government, but the pandemic has given rise to fears of a new Cold War. These fears ... Continue reading
In its meeting of 14th July 2020, 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 August. Five members favoured holding Quantitative Easing (QE) at its current level. Two favoured reducing QE. Three expressed a bias to raise ... Continue reading
Research

and can they pass the Covid-19 stress test?

Summary The Bank of England maintains that UK banks are strongly capitalised. The evidence from banks’ share prices and market values contradicts this claim. Banks are more fragile now than they were going into the last crisis. The Bank of England’s failure to ensure the resilience of the banking system suggests a need for radical ... Continue reading
Research
Summary Health systems in Western countries are plagued by inefficiency and low productivity growth. Without reform, their funding is likely to require a substantial increase in the tax burden as populations age. Patients may also face a gradual decrease in the quality and scope of services. The organisational changes needed to drive costs down and ... Continue reading
Research

No 1: The Information Commissioner's Office

Summary The Information Commissioner has wide ranging functions and powers. They are not always parameterised clearly in the relevant legislation. The Information Commissioner’s reporting shows little evidence that objectives are being met, or even measured. The Parliamentary Committee responsible has not performed its scrutiny function of the Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO) well and a forum ... Continue reading