Profit-making Free Schools: Unlocking the Potential of England's Proprietorial Schools Sector

In this groundbreaking report, James Croft argues that the crisis of school places can only be met by giving true freedom to Free Schools and allowing profit-making schools to operate within the Free Schools programme. In his study of profit-making school outcomes, he shows that schools charging fees on a par with the average state expenditure per pupil equal or exceed the performance of average independent schools. As the report shows, unlocking the power of profit within the Free Schools programme would be a revolution in schooling in England.

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Seeing the Wood for the Trees

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The Forestry Commission has failed in its duties, and the government is right to sell off some of its holdings. This report argues that the government could sell off 92% of the Commission's holdings without affecting the broadleaf forests that the public values for their amenity and scenery. Doing this could raise up to £4.3bn, and end the woeful mismanagement of the country's woodland that the Forestry Commission has delivered.

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Codification and Reform of the British Constitutional Arrangement

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.

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Privatisation Revisited

This report calls on the government to undertake a radical new programme of privatization. There are still many attractive commercial operations in the public sector that should be privatized – for instance, Channel 4, BBC Worldwide, Scottish Water, Network Rail and many other firms. The report also calls for the government’s shares in RBS and Lloyd’s TSB to be sold off gradually over the term of the current government. Together, these privatizations would raise up to £90billion over a period of several years.

The report argues that many benefits would accrue if its proposals were implemented in full – particularly in terms of operational efficiencies. The major privatization wave under the Thatcher government opened up much of Britain’s industry to competition and helped the British economic miracle of the 1980s. In times like this, a return to this approach is required to rejuvenate parts of the British economy.

Britain’s national debt is approaching one trillion pounds and interest repayments are nearly £120 million every day. With this report, the government now has an instruction manual in how to begin paying down this debt and simultaneously jumpstarting the flagging British economy.

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