“Unlikely to supercharge economic growth”: IEA experts respond to Queen’s Speech

Commenting on the Queen’s Speech, Mark Littlewood, Director General at free market think tank the Institute of Economic Affairs, said:

“The measures announced today are unlikely to supercharge economic growth in either the short or medium term.

“The state doesn’t need to provide flexible loans to allow people to attend university at any stage they wish. Instead, it should make it easier for businesses to provide the training that the economy requires.

“The Subsidy Control Bill gives the impression that the government sees the key benefit of Brexit as being the new opportunity to bail out or subsidise businesses that cannot survive in the market themselves. This is a recipe for cronyism and waste, not for economic renewal.

“Liberalisation of the broken planning system is a welcome move, but the proposals unveiled today are disappointingly unambitious.

“The package of policies confirm that we will be relying on the private sector to drive the recovery, with these new government measures only having an effect around the edges – and generally a negative effect.”

Commenting on the government’s planning reform proposals, IEA Head of Political Economy Dr Kristian Niemietz said:

“On planning reform, the government is making the right noises. But we have heard this too many times before and, so far, attempts have always ended with a capitulation to NIMBY interests.

“We will not solve this problem unless the government is prepared to take on the NIMBYs in the way Margaret Thatcher took on the striking miners.

“Britain’s housing supply falls far short of what we see in comparable countries, and the problem is particularly dire in those parts of the UK where housing demand is highest.

“We need a more rules-based system, where developers that play by the rules automatically get planning permission, without having to haggle with every troublemaker and every obstructionist over every plot.”

Commenting on the government’s plans for a ‘lifetime skills guarantee’, IEA Editorial and Research Fellow Professor Len Shackleton said:

“The proposal for a ‘lifetime skills guarantee’ seems to boil down to access to loan funds for a wider range of education and training.

“Loans systems are an indirect way of funding providers who carry no risk themselves and are under little pressure to ensure their courses really help students.

“Giving them some ‘skin in the game’ by making their remuneration dependent on students being able to repay loans is important.

“The outlines of the proposal also seem to suggest that the only useful preparation for work is through a government approved scheme where you ‘learn’ things.

“A broader approach would include the possibility of loan funding to start your own business.”

Commenting on the government’s plans to regulate online content, IEA Head of Regulatory Affairs Victoria Hewson said:

“It will be difficult for the Online Safety Bill to live up to ministers’ commitments to protecting freedom of expression.

“It is currently popular to attack online platforms for censoring speech online, but it’s often misunderstood how much of this is already driven by regulation or threats of regulation.

“Censorship could become much worse if platforms are formally mandated to filter content based on parameters laid down by government and regulators.” 


Notes to editors

Contact: Emily Carver, Head of Media, 07715942731

IEA spokespeople are available for comment or interview.

Further IEA reading:

The Housing Crisis: A briefing, by Dr Kristian Niemietz
Raising the Roof: How to solve the United Kingdom’s housing crisis, by Jacob Rees-Mogg MP and IEA Fellow Radomir Tylecote
More harm than good? The perils of regulating online content, by Victoria Hewson
How to create new jobs, by Professor Len Shackleton

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