What would Britain be like if Dr Eamonn Butler was Chancellor? In this piece, we are given a taste of what would be in store if this did happen. Rather than a full time job, he has limited himself to one day as Chancellor and explains how he would go about changing Britain for the better.
This detailed report from the institutes trafficflow project team explores the equipment and policy requirements to make congestion charging work in major cities. How much does congestion cost? Why must a charging scheme be electronic rather than paper based? How can the technology be made affordable? How much importance should be given to simplicity, flexibility, public opinion, privacy and bolt on services that make life better for road users?
In this briefing paper, Karthik Reddy argues that the British constitutional arrangement has changed such that traditional checks and balances against governmental abuses of power have been lost, and says that a codified constitution is needed which clearly articulates the limits to parliamentary sovereignty. Reddy argues that the Prime Minister's presidential powers must be recognised and responded to by separating the executive from the legislature and making the office of Prime Minister directly electable by the British people, with parliament acting as an independent legislative balance against the executive.
State-run prisons suffer from the familiar problems of other public-sector institutions that face no competition: inadequate supply, poor quality and high cost. All too often, prisons are schools for crime. Many of them suffer from serious problems associated with over-crowding, poor sanitation, violence, drugs and sexual assault. Prison warders have become a powerful vested interest, exerting undue influence over prison policy.
Do we need regulation, rule-books and new codes of practice to keep boardroom executives in check? Corporate-governance specialist Elaine Sternberg says not. The keys to getting on-the-ball, responsible management are competition and shareholder empowerment. Her punchy report takes on the regulationists and shows how to achieve good governance without politics.
Customers must be offered an alternative to the service which has been constantly interrupted by unofficial action, and which now threatens them with a total stoppage, argues Madsen Pirie.
Simon Read's report anticipated much of what Ron Sandler came up with in his official government review of long term savings. Read proposes that products rather than the advice process, should be regulated - as they are in every other market. He argues for a simplified and standard tax structure covering all sorts of savings and investments, and simpler products that will allow charging structures to be simplified and charges reduced.
Around the world - Sweden, New Zealand, Germany, Netherlands - postal services have been liberalised and the public is getting better services at lower cost. Yet the UK - the pioneer of privatisation in the 1980s still lumbers along with a state-owned post office that is now losing large amounts of money. Ian Senior says it's time for the Post Office to embrace competition, develop new services, and start making money...and he identifies some precise opportunities to that end.
Are conspiracy theories a hallmark of the right? Or, asks Chris Snowdon, do th really big conspiracy theories go hand in hand with a grandiose statism?Read more...
The only booming sector in the UK seems to be the public sector. We've skimmed the Guardian's jobs pages and added up the cost of all those community awareness co-ordinators (30,000 of them each year, at nearly a billion quid in salaries). Our report, by Jonathan Woolham, shows exactly where your hard-earned tax money is going.