In Re-energizing Britain Nigel Hawkins warns the UK faces blackouts unless the six major energy companies invest. New nuclear plant should be encouraged by replacing the existing Renewables Obligation with a new Low Carbon Obligation, which would include nuclear power. The three key aims of energy policy – security of supply, reduced carbon emissions, and lower prices – would all benefit from this change, since nuclear energy is both low-carbon and less expensive than many other ways of generating electricity, and does not depend on risky supplies of gas from Russia. The government also needs to work with the energy companies to make sure that they have both planning approval and access to finance to increase Britain's gas storage facilities substantially. The UK has only one-tenth of the gas storage of Germany, and is dangerously exposed to interruptions in supply.
The text of this was delivered as a speech at The Adam Smith Annual Lecture, St. Stephen’s Club, 4th June 2009.
Dr Eamonn Butler on the cost of government and how to reduce it.
According to mainstream human rights thinking all human rights are “indivisible". Therefore, this mantra insists, economic, social and cultural rights such as the right to an adequate living and the right to social security should not be treated differently from classic freedom rights such as free speech and habeas corpus. In The War on Capitalism: Human rights, political bias Jacob Mchangama argues that this conflation of very different rights is a fallacy, and that it reveals a marked political bias towards state involvement in the economy, increased public spending and the limitation or even abolishment of free market initiatives.
In The Recession: Causes and Cures, economist David Simpson analyzes the current recession and the government's responses to it. He finds that the widely-held conventional view of the economic cycle – which suggests recessions are caused by external shocks and can be remedied by a government-applied stimulus – is inadequate in the present circumstances, and is leading policymakers both to misunderstand the causes of the crisis, and to advocate the wrong cures. This report examines the real causes of the recession, and suggests policiy opyions which could bring it more quickly to an end.
This response to Financial Services Authority Discussion Paper 09/2 argues that regulators, not under-regulation, are to blame for the financial crash. It points out that the banks are already minutely regulated, but that the regulators became so preoccupied with form-filling that they did not see that the whole financial system was at risk. What is needed is the kind of overall supervision that would have seen the potentially fatal risks that the banks were running and would have intervened to curb them. The authors suggest the Bank of England should take on this supervision role in future, and that far from being expanded, the powers of the Financial Services Authority (FSA), should be cut back to 'match its competence'.
Britain is broken. Its finances are in ruins, its taxation is chaotic and punitive, its public services fail to reach adequate standards, and its public administration shows no coherence and commands no respect. In Zero Base Policy Madsen Pirie urges a new approach. Instead of tinkering at the edges by trying to improve existing policies, he urges a re-think to first principles, asking in each case what are the purposes and the objectives sought. The policies derived from such an approach make a clean break with the past, setting out how Britain can be put right. Ranging across all areas of public policy, Madsen Pirie presents the radical agenda which can transform the nation from broken Britain into a dynamic society and a successful economy, one which achieves the objectives its citizens yearn for. It should be bedtime reading for those who aspire to govern Britain in the future.
Dr Eamonn Butler explores the Chancellor's lack of understanding of basic economic theory, whilst pin pointing, through basic science, why his policy on tax will have a harmful effect on the public.