The Chancellor, Philip Hammond, is reportedly obsessed with the issue of productivity; whilst most of the electorate remain baffled. We talk to Vicky Pryce, Chief Economic Adviser and board member at the Centre for Economics and Business Research (CEBR), who draws on her experience of being ‘responsible’ for productivity targets under the last Labour Government. Numerous explanations have been put forward for the UK’s poor productivity performance since 2008. Recent research suggests we have a particularly long tail of poorly performing companies in the UK, who fail to adopt innovations of the leading 1%. We consider this diagnosis next to many others, and speculate on what a newly formulated Industrial Strategy might do to help.
Ahead of the European Council summit in the Austrian City of Salzburg on the 20th of September, we ask what’s next for Brexit. Can the Government stick its beleaguered Chequers proposal? Could the UK take the Norway option whilst negotiating a more comprehensive Free Trade Agreement? To discuss these issues the IEA's Digital Manager Darren Grimes was joined by Stephen Booth of the Open Europe think tank. Stephen argues that Chequers is the only game in town because it’s the only deal that meets the EU’s tests, and because the Government simply does not have the numbers or political capital to move any further away from the EU through a Canada-style Free Trade Agreement. Also joining Darren is Victoria Hewson, Senior Counsel at the IEA’s Trade Unit. Victoria argues that the EU’s demand for backstop could lock the UK into the EU’s orbit in perpetuity. For Victoria, the prospect of a our future trading agreement being determined by parliamentary politics is why Brexiteers are so worried about Chequers. There’s a feeling that if we don’t seize the momentum, the pro-Remain majority within Parliament will win the day and the opportunities of an independent trade policy and regulatory autonomy will be lost. The pair give their analysis on what’s next, how we got here and how all roads lead to Ireland.
With power struggles within Parliament dominating the headlines, it’s all too easy to forget the bigger picture of our departure from the EU. Yet, with public consultations opening up about our first bilateral trade agreements, this debate is continuing – though perhaps not getting the attention it deserves. Today we’re joined by Shanker Singham, Director of the IEA’s International Trade and Competition Unit, and Senior Policy Analyst Dr Radomir Tylecote. They examine these consultations, what it could mean for business – and what the government should be doing to give firms more certainty and help them prepare for the future. Finally, they examine public opinion towards free trade. If recent polling is anything to go by, the public mood is decidedly anti-protectionist – just as it was in the 19th century, when free exchange triumphed over mercantilism in the battle of ideas.
In between the resignations and the reshuffles, what have we learned about where Brexit will go next? Much of the focus has been on the response to the deal the prime minister reached with her cabinet at Chequers, but what was in the deal itself? How practical is the government’s position on Brexit? And what are the alternatives? Ayeisha Thomas-Smith is joined by Marley Morris, senior research fellow at the Institute for Public Policy Research, and Andrew Pendleton, NEF’s director of policy and advocacy.
Ayeisha Thomas-Smith, Marley Morris, Andrew Pendleton
Today we’re joined by the Advisory Board of our International Trade and Competition Unit, made up of world-renowned experts in trade policy – including Sir Lockwood Smith, John Weekes and Alan Oxley, who join us today, along with ITCU’s Director Shanker Singham. Interviewed by the IEA’s Madeline Grant, they give us a global view of Britain’s place in the world – and their prognosis of how our negotiations have progressed so far.
They examine best practice in a range of different areas, including negotiating tactics, and discuss what an optimal free trade arrangement with the EU would look like. They also lay out some of the potential dangers and obstacles Britain may face in reaching this outcome. Finally, they consider how an independent Britain could advance the cause of free trade on the world stage.
Sir Lockwood Smith, John Weekes, Alan Oxley, Shanker Singham, Madeline Grant
The advance of AI and robotics brings many challenges as well as huge opportunities – and public concern about changes in the labour market has been mounting in recent years. But is our pessimism justified? Len Shackleton - the IEA’s Editorial Fellow and author of a recent report into robotics and the future of work - speaks to Digital Officer Madeline Grant, and examines whether we might be overstating our predictions of widespread job loss. They also evaluate some of the policies currently being proposed by politicians in response to these emerging technologies.
Today we’re joined by the IEA’s Research Director Dr Jamie Whyte, and Catherine McBride, Senior Economist in the IEA’s International Trade and Competition Unit, who analyse the future of Britain’s financial services post-Brexit. Interviewed by the IEA’s Digital Officer Madeline Grant, the pair discuss to what extent Brexit will actually effect the vibrancy of Britain’s financial services, and what opportunities lie outside of European Union for the finance industries. Catherine and Jamie give particular focus to the fear-mongering, perpetuated by certain camps, around the future of financial services, arguing that the EU’s regulatory fixations have held the City of London back for years, and made it significantly harder for genuine competitors to enter the market.
Exactly one year from today, Britain will officially quit the EU. But what do we know so far, and what happens next?
Today joined by Julian Jessop, Head of the IEA’s Brexit Unit, and Shanker Singham, Director of the IEA’s new International Trade and Competition Unit. Interviewed by Digital Officer Madeline Grant, the pair answer some of the most pressing questions about Brexit – including what, if anything, we’ve managed to negotiate so far, how our economy has fared until now, the future of the Irish border, and whether there is any chance of Brexit being overturned.
It’s one of the biggest contradictions in British politics. Across the country, baby boomers who own a house cheer as the value of their property rises. Meanwhile their millennial children watch on in horror, as owning their own home increasingly falls out of their reach.
Politicians talk about building more homes but very few of them talk about directly reducing house prices. If house prices are too high for people to be able to buy houses, how can we bring them down? And can we do it without upsetting homeowners and crashing the economy? Ayeisha Thomas-Smith is joined by Joe Beswick, who leads on housing for the New Economics Foundation, and housing campaigner Beth Stratford, a PhD researcher at the University of Leeds.
In the latest instalment of our podcast series, Live From Lord North Street, News Editor Kate Andrews discusses trade arrangements and customs unions post-Brexit with Shanker Singham, who is joining the IEA as the director of our new International Trade and Competition unit. The pair examine Theresa May’s recent speech – one of six in a series dubbed the ‘Road to Brexit’ – in which the PM set out five key tests with which to judge an eventual deal with the EU. They also examine the future of regulation outside of the European Union, and potential alternatives to full regulatory alignment.