Released to coincide with a seminar event at the Conservative Party Conference on 7 October 2009, this paper argues that while Governments and regulators invariably claim that regulations are introduced for the most laudable of reasons, regulations often have unforeseen and highly damaging consequences. This paper discusses some striking examples of this trend across a spectrum of business and social sectors, ranging from banking and finance to health and safety regulations.
If we cut out Whitehall and local bureaucracy, we could give front-line head teachers another £1350 per pupil to spend. And wouldn't we get a more responsive, more local, more parent-focused school system as a result? Thinker and journalist Stephen Pollard argues that in value for money terms, when you add in all the bureaucratic costs, state education is now actually more expensive than private education. Why? Because too much of the education budget is wasted on inappropriate spending by distant officials. The answer? Devolve the budget to front-line managers. And do the same in health and social services while you're at it!
Showing the practical benefits that education choice has brought in other countries, the authors develop a no-nonsense plan to open UK education up to the same choice and competition that is already improving school standards in the most disadvantaged communities in Europe and the US. The plan aims to improve equality, access and diversity by allowing parents an escape from failing schools, empowering parental choice, and boosting the provision of new non-state community schools.
The old balance struck between rich and poor in a democracy has been circumvented, says Madsen Pirie. A third option, to borrow from the voters of tomorrow, has given politicians around the world a blank cheque to spend their way into oblivion.
This paper documents the bewildering and counter-productive range of political initiatives and interference which has wreaked such havoc on our nation's healthcare system.
The paper's proposal is for a distinguished panel of health professionals to be appointed to run the NHS, to allocate its budget, determine its priorities, and operate it according to medical needs rather than political aims. A YouGov poll taken on the subject shows massive popular support for precisely such a proposal, with 69 percent in favour and only 12 percent against.
The NHS budget would be set by Parliament every five years, and up-rated each year in line with inflation. The ASI's YouGov poll showed that this idea, too, enjoys widespread popular support, with 74 percent in favour. The suggestion that "the NHS has become a political football" receives 72 percent backing.
The achievement of the bus industry in the last decade has been 'truly remarkable', emerging from a long period of managed decline to become market-led, quality minded, and capable of ending three decades of loss of custom to the car. This report assesses how innovation is winning people back to buses.
Keith Boyfield picks up on the subject of regulation and how much the EU law is to blame for the significant legislation on British business. However, he explains why there is reason for optimism and how things could change for the better in terms of pulling back on excessive regulation.
Digital Dirigisme, which responds to the government’s Digital Britain report, attacks the proposals for ‘industrial activism’ in the communications sector, and lays out its own vision for a highly competitive, enterprise-driven industry based on a clear framework of property rights and strengthened privacy protection. The report also calls for the phased privatization of the BBC, and the eventual abolition of the TV licence fee.
An article claiming that libertarians support autocracy has made ripples online. In this article, Sam Bowman rebuts that article and argues that its author fundamentally misunderstands – and misrepresents – his topic.
When the Conservatives took office in 1979 we had an instruction from Prime Minister Thatcher that we, at the Department of Education, as it was then known, should issue no more that one Circular (to educational establishments) per year. I was the Special Advisor to the Secretary of State, having formulated much of the education policy of the previous years in Opposition. We pursued such policies as the Assisted Places Scheme, Local Management of Schools, and latterly, Grant Maintained Schools.