The year-by-year improvement in examination results owes more to the spirit of competition between schools than to Whitehall¹s increasingly centralized controls over them. Schools could produce still more improvements in the future if they were given even more freedom to manage themselves and compete for pupils. But there must be more focus on improving the performance of schools in poorer neighbourhoods, which have not kept pace with the general improvements.
Based on a study of 3000 state schools by two Lancaster University economists, the Report Card says the results of the competition between schools that has followed the introduction of league tables and other reforms in 1988 has been that:
- Parents have sought quality, moving their children to local schools that are higher up the league tables of exam performance;
- Exam performance has risen as schools feel the effects of this competition and try to outdo the achievement of other schools nearby;
- Larger schools perform better because they can be more flexible in how they use staff time; and
- The gap between rich and poor schools is widening, though not by much.
In The Recession: Causes and Cures, economist David Simpson analyzes the current recession and the government's responses to it. He finds that the widely-held conventional view of the economic cycle – which suggests recessions are caused by external shocks and can be remedied by a government-applied stimulus – is inadequate in the present circumstances, and is leading policymakers both to misunderstand the causes of the crisis, and to advocate the wrong cures. This report examines the real causes of the recession, and suggests policiy opyions which could bring it more quickly to an end.
Britain's prison system is in a state of crisis. Violent incidents, industrial disruption and rooftop sieges are common reminders that radical reform of the system is urgently required. Antiquated Victorian prisons often house three prisoners in cells designed for one. The overcrowding and poor conditions inevitably lead to resentment and tensions which break out in violence.
In a question and answer format, Samuel Nguyen provides a case for a flat tax rate. He argues that it will not be as good for the rich as people think, but he feels the tax rate will be so much lower that the rich will actually pay it. Thus, he points out, the Government should have more to spend. He also looks in to whether this is the kind of policy Europe would want to advocate and answers confidently that this is the way forward.
Before Britain joins the Euro the five economic tests must be passed. Chancellor Gordon Brown declared in June 2003 that four of the five tests had been failed. He was satisfied that British entry would not damage financial services in Britain, but was not happy about employment or investment. Nor was there sufficient convergence or flexiblity.
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.
Rhis Adam Smith Institute briefing paper addresses the challenges and requirements laid down by Harriet Harman's statement from July 1997 relating to stakeholder pensions. While retaining the guarantees of state provision, it offers people a voluntary, funded, simple alternatine to SERPS and the basic pension. Assuring everyone of security and dignity, not dependancy, in retirement.
In The Party is Over – A Blueprint for Fiscal Stability, city economist Nigel Hawkins argues that reducing public spending is the most pressing challenge the new government. His report goes on to point out that – assuming the Treasury's growth forecasts are correct – the government will need to cut spending by 3 percent a year to balance the books by 2015. That means finding more than £90bn of cuts over the course of the current parliament. Hawkins also argues that no area of public spending - even the NHS - should be ring-fenced.
A report looking at the transport problems in the UK, and at one potential solution to it.
1. The current consensus
Who, what, and why?
A recent note from the House of Commons Library suggests that there is really no argument about the need for affordable housing. It states: "The provision of affordable housing is viewed as a fundamental component of sustainable development."