What's Wrong with the Welfare State?

The history of the welfare state is a record of failing attempts to curb the costs of over optimistic promises made by politicians. This early welfare state was, like today's contributory and compulsory; but its benefits were neither comprehensive or universal. As we can see today the financial balance was well out of tilt. This report lays out a solution to the problems.

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Singapore vs. Chile: Competing models for welfare reform

The authors argue that UK welfare reform should combine the best features of successful reforms in other countries, rather than copying a single model. Contrasting the system in Singapore with the Chilean model, they maintain that important lessons can be learnt, Where Chile highlights the significance of private management. Singapore shows the possible flexibility of new welfare provision. Both show the importance of moving to personally funded welfare accounts.


Read the full paper here.

Seize the Initiative

The principle of Private Financial Initiate (PFI) represents the best hope for generating funding for capital projects, particularly in Britain’s inadequate transport infrastructure. Dr Eamonn Butler and Allan Stewart MP argue that allowing the private sector to be as innovative as possible with respect too public sector challenges should be the long-term objective of Whitehall, transforming the ways in which the public sector achieves its goals.

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Over to You

Policy experts from both left and right agree that the welfare state cannot survive without a radical set of reforms. The new Fortune Account would provide for retirement savings and lifetime insurance against unemployment and other risks. Positive incentives would reduce fraud, while the extra investment could produce an additional 3% rise in economic growth as experienced in Chile.


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The Kiwi Effect

New Zealand has been rated the world's most free economy by The Economist due to reforms initiated by the Labour government. The old Crown departments have been split into their policy, regulatory, service-delivery and commercial functions. The government has also become the first to adopt the same kind of rigorous accounting standards that are demanded of commercial firms - every new policy must be subjected to long range and analysis of its costs and impact. Having seen New Zealand as the world's laboratory for public sector reform, there is much we could learn from the Kiwi effect.


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A Fund for Life

The authors of 'A Fund for Life' argue that the UK state pension should be remodelled on Chile's privatized system which replaced its state pension with compulsory personal savings accounts which have become actuarially sound and secure, and offer flexible retirement ages, higher rates of return and stimulate economic growth.


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Forests for the People

The public forest estate no longer serves a public purpose. It occupies 10% of the area of Great Britain and over 15% of the rural area of mainland Scotland. All of this is outside local control. Over the last eighty years the national forest policy has been a complete failure and the Forestry Commission is to blame. There has been no return on investment, no commercial value and worst has failed to deliver on any of its objectives. The authors claim that the public forest estate should be freed from government constraints and protection. The woodlands should be returned gratis to the residents of the communities of which they could then become part.

Miles Saltiel is an investment banker with experience of the privatizations of Eastern Europe. Allan Stewart MP is a former Minister of State at the Scottish Office.

Read the full paper here.

A Power of Good

The privatization and liberalization of the UK electricity industry is the most important and influential reform within the worldwide electricity sector to have occurred in the last half century. Competition was introduced to large parts of the industry, the industry was transferred from state ownership into the hands of private investors, and a new system of independent regulation was established, presided over by a new regulator, the Director General of Electricity Supply (DGES), who presides over the Office of Electricity Regulation (OFFER). The basic principles of the reform are:

  • Seperation of functions – into generation, transmission, distribution, and supply.
  • Regulation of monopoly elements (transmission and distribution).
  • Competition in generation and supply.
  • Transitional arrangements (including support for nuclear generation).

This report outlines the results of these changes.

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