Public ownership is back on the agenda. Opinion polls show high levels of support for taking all kinds of things back into public hands, from the railways to water to energy, and the Labour party is committed to a vast expansion of public ownership. But if privatisation has failed, what kind of public ownership should replace it? As the critics of nationalisation are quick to say, British Rail wasn’t that great. What should be done differently this time? If these services were nationalised, would the state even know how to run them? And are there other ways of putting them back in public hands? Ayeisha Thomas-Smith is joined by Cat Hobbs, director of We Own It campaign, Hilary Wainwright, co-editor of Red Pepper magazine and fellow of the Transnational Institute, and Sahil Dutta, lecturer in political economy at Goldsmiths University.
Brexit has revitalized debates about democracy. Restoring democracy and sovereignty can come risk for those strongly committed to free markets — that our fellow citizens might choose another path, perhaps even one that could lead to socialist and freedom-hindering policies. But is that a risk we must take? In a free society, what individual rights should never be infringed on? What should be voted on? And is there a place for technocratic decision-making? In a new paper, the Director of the IEA’s FREER initiative, Rebecca Lowe, argues that one clear answer to ‘improving’ democracy here in the UK would be to institute a proper focus on local decision-making — something that, she says, has been overlooked in past years. Rebecca joins the IEA's Darren Grimes to discuss, alongside Adam Bartha, the Director of EPICENTER, the European Policy Information Center.
Inflation has slipped to 1.8 per cent - below the 25 per cent target - and the Bank of England has downgraded the UK's growth prospects and indicated interest rate hikes are on hold. But at the same time, wages are rising by more than inflation and unemployment remains low. So has the clock already started ticking on a slowdown in the UK economy, or is this just some pre-Brexit jitters that could eventually be followed by a bounce? Elsewhere, we talk about the property market and a recent slump in prices in London and the South, along with why you should consider carefully how long your mortgage term is for. And finally - with holiday season on the horizon, and with all-inclusive trips on the rise, we ask: are they actually a good idea?
The Windrush scandal outraged the nation last year. But last week the Home Office reinstated deportation flights to Jamaica for criminal offenders who they say are foreign nationals. Meanwhile, parliament passed a new immigration bill last month, promising to control the “number and type” of people coming to the UK. The home secretary came under fire for proposing a £30,000 income threshold for EU immigrants. A lot of the debate we hear about immigration is made in economic terms. But it’s also about identity, race and belonging. It can be hard at the moment to imagine that a more humane immigration policy might be possible, but that’s exactly what we’re trying to do this week. Guest host Dave Powell is joined by chief exec of the Joint Council for the Welfare of Immigrants Satbir Singh, executive director of War on Want Asad Rehman, and Maya Goodfellow, author of a forthcoming book on Britain’s immigration policies.
Dave Powell, Satbir Singh, Asad Rehman, Maya Goodfellow
Davos, the super-exclusive annual gathering of the world’s political and business elite displays all the features of a petri dish for the spread of “crony capitalism”. A tiny number of extraordinarily powerful individuals meet to discuss how the affairs of all seven billion human beings should be planned and co-ordinated. It represents an environment for the growth of regulation, intervention and enhanced barriers to entry for small businesses.
All too often what we see in criticisms of capitalism are actually examples of rent-seeking and corporations trying to game the system, which amounts to crony capitalism.
But has crony capitalism like that displayed in Davos become a catch-all term? The challenge for free markets, and for capitalism, is manifold: the message is tarnished, the frames are poor, and, fundamentally, the moral case for what they achieve is missing.
On this week's podcast, the IEA's Digital Manager Darren Grimes is joined by the IEA’s Director General Mark Littlewood and the Director of the IEA’s FREER initiative Rebecca Lowe to discuss these challenges.
In the UK, one in four of us will experience a mental health problem at some point in their lives. And according to the latest stats, one in eight young people have a mental health problem. One big problem is access to treatment. Mental health services are underfunded, leaving many people stuck on waiting lists. But what are the wider social and economic factors that are causing poor mental health in the first place? Is the economy itself damaging our mental health? Is modern life making us sick? Ayeisha Thomas-Smith talks to Hana Riaz, who is researching the impact of gentrification on mental health, NEF organiser Becki Winson, and our wellbeing researcher Annie Quick.
Ayeisha Thomas-Smith, Hana Riaz, Becki Winson, Annie Quick
Inside Property is back for the new year! And with a raft of regulatory changes planned for Letting Agents in 2019, who will benefit and who will be losing out? From April, Letting Agents must have a dedicated bank account and insurance for clients’ money; and tenants’ fees will be banned from June 2019. What is morale like amongst Letting Agents, and how will the sector change in the coming years? And as a result of these changes, will the real victory be with the consumer? Host Richard Blanco is joined by David Cox, CEO of Arla Propertymark; Fiona Exley from London Trading Standards; and Business Transfer Agent, Adam Walker.
Investing has proven to be the best way to beat inflation and grow your wealth over the long-term, but how do you get started? And if you do already invest but feel you’ve lost track of your goals or ended up with a jumble of investments, how can you improve things?
In this second edition of a two-part podcast special on saving and investing, Simon Lambert and Georgie Frost dive into how to be a smarter investor. They bust the jargon and look at why people should invest, how to get started, what investments you can choose and how to find the right ones for you. Simon discusses his experience of investing, what he got right along the way and importantly the things he got wrong. But why should you invest? Well, between 1900 and 2017 owning UK shares would have delivered an average return of 5.5 per cent, beating cash savings at 1 per cent and property at 1.8 per cent, according to the respected Credit Suisse Investment Yearbook. There’s no guarantee that history will be repeated, but companies should always have the ability to put money to productive use and reward investors with rising share prices off the back of their profits, dividend payouts, or interest on bonds.
Opinion surveys consistently suggest that the British public is overwhelmingly hostile to immigration - a hostility which shapes our immigration policies in many ways - often negatively. However, if we dig a little deeper into the polling data, it becomes clear that most people in Britain are not pro or anti immigration per se. Despite overall hostility to immigration, there are types of immigration that are widely accepted, or even popular with the general public. Today we're joined by the IEA's Head of Political Economy Dr Kristian Niemietz, the author of our latest report into migration. Kristian proposes a new post-Brexit immigration policy that would capitalise on the nuances in public opinion to push for the most liberal migration policy possible.
In part one of two This is Money podcast specials, we tackle savings. When savings are mentioned, the first thought that springs to mind for many is: rates are low, what's the point? In the latest This is Money podcast, assistant editor Lee Boyce and host Georgie Frost are joined by James Blower, the Savings Guru to explain why savings are important. James has inside knowledge of the industry, having helped a number of challenger banks set up their savings business. We talk about what the point of saving is and what you need to consider at different stages - and ages - of your life. How do you save for your children, what about Isas, does higher risk equal higher reward and how do you save for a house? We also talk about why the Financial Services Compensation Scheme is important and whether saving in cash over investing is ever a worthwhile exercise. James takes us behind the scenes at how rates are set and reveals why he believes better deals are on the horizon for savers.
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