This report assesses the powers and duties of Passenger Transit Authorities, to see how far they are needed; how much they cost to maintain; and whether such of their functions as may be justified could be better provided by the existing, directly elected local authorities. It finds that the
case for their abolition is strong.
In her first 2,000 days Margaret Thatcher changed the world. She privatized state industries, lowered taxes, deregulated the economy, and tamed the unions. The miners were conquered at home, the Falklands liberated abroad. By late 1984, after decades of decline, Britain was back and booming.
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.
Reform of the welfare state has been a strong theme in public policy pronouncements over recent years. Much of the pressure for reform has come from a burgeoning social security budget and, partly as a result of measures taken and partly as a result of substantial reductions in unemployment in the later 1990s, expenditure growth has fallen back of late. Underlying pressures for increased spending remain, however, and budgets will likely grow more quickly again when the effects of falling unemployment wear off.
Vuk Vukovic outlines the key deregulations that need to be made to kick-start small and medium business employment and spur on a jobs-led recovery.
Private finance can save London Underground from crisis. The report proposes that three to five, probably four investment-led contracts, or "concessions", should be offered to private sector consortia to design, modernize, finance and operate services, stations and infrastructure. Such a structure would provide operational flexibility in deploying rolling stock and manpower It would also provide more bankable revenue streams.
Unfair Trade argues that for all its good intentions, Fairtrade is not fair. Firstly, by guaranteeing certified farmers a minimum price for their goods, it can distort local markets leaving other farmers even worse off. Secondly, only about 10 percent of the premium paid by consumers actually makes it to the producer, which makes it an inefficient way of helping the poor. Most importantly, Fairtrade does little to aid economic development, focusing instead on sustaining farmers in their current state. Although helpful to some in the short term, this holds back mechanization, diversification, and moves up the value chain. And by requiring farmers to form co-operatives, Fairtrade rules reduce opportunities for labourers to get full-time, permanent jobs and can foster corruption. The report also details the range of alternatives available to ethical consumers, which may be better options than Fairtrade.
The regulation of clinical practice must focus on the clinical service standards that are delivered to patients, and not on protecting professional self-interest. It must be accepted and trusted as such by the public. We envisage therefore a single regulatory authority that is independent of the healthcare professions. It should be dominated by lay representatives, and perhaps chaired by a lawyer rather than a clinician.
A series of factsheets that examine the need, and methods of implementation, for urban road user charging.
In this think piece Liam Ward-Proud examines two Congressional bills, one passed and one under Senate scrutiny, for their proposed reforms in relation to ‘too big to fail’ firms and the regulation of ‘alternative investments’. It is found that on neither issue do the bills get it right; in fact, the Senate bill manifestly enshrines the principle of taxpayer guarantees, showing no commitment to competitive markets. Both bills contain what are argued to be misguided and potentially futile attempts at regulating hedge funds and private equity dealers.