The demand for private education is enormous - and not just from parents of the brightest students. But only a minority can afford it, because they already pay tax towards the state system. It's time to build a new system that supports parents who want the right school for their children's abilities - and needs - so that non-state education becomes accessible to all, says top private school teacher Chris Lambert in this ASI report.
The former chief inspector of schools tells it like it is. Exams really are getting easier,more kids are leaving primary schools unable to read, and leaving secondary school without the skills needed to work or study. The quangos in charge of the exam system should be scrapped and the national curriculum torn up - leaving parents free to choose schools teaching different things in different ways. A must read - if you're one of the few that can.
This report, which calls for an end to today's centralised health service and the adoption of competing european style social insurance has been endorsed by prominent health experts. The main thrust is that the government should neither provide nor finance health. It should mearly regulate. Instead hospitals and doctors should be made fully independant of whitehall, as local trusts. Families would subscribe to one of a number of social insurers, who would then buy the services from one of the indeependant providers. Ex- minister Frank Fields says that "if the present government's reforms do not soon show signs of success, a system of competing health suppliers regulated by government and run on insurance lines will begin to be practical politics."
People in good health should be able to get part of their taxes back and take the money to a private health insurer or company health plan, according to actuary and City University professor Philip Booth in a new report for ASI. This would give patients better choice, driving down costs and driving up quality as new healthcare providers bid for their custom.
Alistair Darling must confine the government to the relief of poverty and allow the private sector to take up the task of providing basic pensions an social security benefits. The welfare state has become riddled with compleities, inconsistancies and perverse incentives that it now positively discourages low-income families against savings and insuring themselves for future needs. Professor George Yarrow of Oxford University, who wrote the report, states that means testing is like a tax on personal saving and that the government must focus on improving the market. the true welfare elemnt needs to be rediscovered from the waste the nhs has become.
Abolition of all benefit and contribution limits, except those on lump sums would produce a massive simplification of the non state pension sector. With little or no scope for abuse, given the recent erosion of pension tax privileges. But real simplification is possible only within the context of broader reforms of anomalies and complexities in the tax system, in how different pension schemes are treated, and in the relationship between pensions and the structure of social benefits. This report shows how.
First, there was the agricultural economy. Then capital became the key productive resource. But the driver of wealth-creation today is the talent and brainpower of individuals: we live in a People economy. And since people are both diverse and mobile, governments and social scientists now need to change the very way they think about job-creation, regional policy, taxation, social solidarity, welfare, and much more.
Around the World in 80 Ideas is just that - 80 policy ideas from many different countries, which have replaced state ownership and control with choice, competition, freedom and innovation. The whole world is represented - from the commercialization of the Coffee Board in Ghana, to the private use of government-owned land in China; from airline deregulation in the United States to private maths education in Japan; from contracting-out the management of government buildings in Britain to economic reforms in Estonia. And these good ideas cover all aspects of government and the economy, from welfare, through utility reform and transport, to economic policy, health and education.
Neither the NHS nor private health insurance plans run efficiently because neither adequately reflect demand of medical services. In both schemes there is no connection between usage and cost of services to the consumer, creating an over-demand for services. Attempts have been made to curb this problem by private insurers in the use of co-payments or other means of sharing service costs with consumers. This paper contends that independent Medical Savings Accounts, paid into by the employer but under the control of the consumer will sovle this problem by providing resources for care, but creating incentives for patients to use only the services they require.
Public services must be changed, not just funded. This report outlines the new vision for the NHS and state education which would make them more innovative and consumer focussed. The key is to make the public services producers "free–standing, self–owned and independent". They would manage their own budgets and set their own policy and priorities. Parents choosing a school would direct the government funding for their child to the institution they selected. Doctors and patients by choosing a particular hospital for a course of treatment would direct state funds to that institution. State schools, universities and hospitals would be driven by the demands of their customers. The public services would have to improve quality and efficiency.