In this episode of Policy Matters, host Matt Dickson talks to Laura van der Erve from the Institute for Fiscal Studies about the merits of doing a university degree, and what recent evidence suggests are the relative labour market returns to degrees in different subjects at different institutions. With almost 50% of young people in England going on to Higher Education, and with tuition fees of £9,250 for most courses, it has never been more important to understand the impact on earnings of studying different subjects and at different HE institutions. Laura describes recent research from the IFS looking at graduate outcomes and explains some of the difficulties in pinning down the impact of a particular course on later earnings and employment. They then discuss social gradients in attending university and the extent to which inequalities have been impacted by changes in tuition fees. Finally, talk turns to thinking about the sorts of things students need to know in advance in order to make an informed decision about where to apply and what to study, how the government can help with this, and the limits of information provision as a policy.
In the last of her four discussions with writer and consultant on responsible business Tom Levitt, Linda Lewis probes further into what it means to be a responsible and sustainable business in the 21st century. The two discuss what it is that engages employees within a business setting, the growing phenomenon of “social enterprise”, and how such businesses differ from the mainstream. The role of “purpose” in business is explored; as is the changing nature of investment, which is increasingly being used to support businesses in creating positive social and environmental outcomes. The discussion is further explored from a historical perspective – what can we learn from hindsight that could improve business today?
Today we’re by John Myers, co-founder of London YIMBY, which stands for Yes In My Back Yard. The group campaigns for more homes in London and the rest of the UK. Interviewed by IEA News Editor Kate Andrews, John talks through the main obstacles that stand in the way of building more homes, and how the current system makes it near impossible for quantity and quality in the housing sector to go hand-in-hand.
John explains how the severe imbalance between supply and demand for housing in the UK, means that desperation to become a homeowner takes precedent, and often the aesthetics of property go out the window. John talks us through some solutions to the housing crisis, including allowing homeowners to have more control over planning permissions on their own street.
Finally, the pair discuss the perverse incentives in politics around the housing crisis, and what decisions could be made in Westminster to help more young people secure cheaper mortgages and cheaper rent.
Happy birthday, NHS! That was the message from the prime minister, as she announced an extra £20bn of funding for the NHS in England by 2023. But is that enough? And where will the money come from? There’s been talk of a ‘Brexit dividend’ – does that mean the infamous battle bus promise has come true? Or will some of us have to pay more tax to keep our NHS on life support? And whatever happened to fixing our broken social care system?
This week, Ayeisha Thomas-Smith is joined by Sarah Bedford, head of social policy at the New Economics Foundation, and Andy Cowper, comment editor of the Health Service Journal.
Since the late 1990s, there has been a push to improve the educational outcomes of disadvantaged children - with governments viewing free early education as key to the achievement of this aim. Dr Jo Blanden, Reader in Economics and Research Director of the School of Economics at the University of Surrey, joins Peter Urwin to talk of her work investigating whether free nursery care impacts children’s educational performance. Overall the suggestion is that these policies have been associated with a large amount of "dead weight" - using taxpayers' money to support people in doing things that they would have done anyway. They consider whether the findings present a challenge to the suggestion that early years interventions provide best returns; or is it the specifics of this policy that need rethinking?
The National Health Service is 70 years old this year and most of us are proud of the British institution, leaning on it in our times of need. However, we’re living longer with more complex problems and the service keeps crying out that it needs more money.
Where does it come from? Do we make cost-cuttings or plough lots of money in, do we increase income tax, make the rich pay, or introduce a new special ring-fenced tax?
Theresa May announced plans for £20.5billion-a-year cash boost – but was a little short on the detail. She hinted at tax rises and mentioned a ‘Brexit dividend’. This is Money editor Simon Lambert, along with consumer affairs editor Lee Boyce and presenter Georgie Frost look at ways to fix the NHS in the latest podcast.
In this episode of Policy Matters, hosts Franz Buscha and Matt Dickson are joined by Professor Paul Gregg from the University of Bath to consider the prospects for today’s young people leaving education and entering the labour market. We hear a lot in the news about the job market challenges facing young people; and yet employment rates are at record levels, recent generations are the most educated ever with more and more people going to University and then enjoying a graduate wage premium – so what’s the problem? Paul provides an insight into how the economy has been changing over the last decade or so, the ways in which the recession following the 2007/8 financial crisis was unlike anything we’ve had before, and how young people have suffered the most. Matt and Franz then discuss with Paul the ways in which the challenges for policy are different now to what’s often been the case in the past, and consider what government policy can do to improve the prospects for young people today.
Linda Lewis and former Labour MP Tom Levitt are back for their third discussion in a series inspired by Tom’s latest book, ‘The Company Citizen: Good for Business, Planet, Nation and Community’. In this episode, they discuss how business can be a force for good both in combating hunger and in the better management of resources through the “circular economy”. Tom shares how he came to write the book, why engaging with smaller businesses is crucial to the cause and how Paul Polman, CEO of Unilever, has emerged as a leader of the responsible and sustainable business movement.
In this interview, Peter Urwin considers the ‘collective failures’ suffered by the polling industry in recent years; from their inability to predict the 2015 British general election outcome, to Brexit, to Trump. Joining him is Professor Patrick Sturgis, who discusses findings from his chairing of the British Polling Council/Market Research Society Inquiry into the 2015 General Election Polls; and in his role as Specialist Advisor to the House of Lords Select Committee on Political Polling and Digital Media. They explore whether the same mistakes are being made by Pollsters across these different ‘failures', and whether it is getting harder to predict outcomes. Plus, they ask whether analysis of social media presents an opportunity to help capture voter sentiment – or is the media industry part of the problem?
“Fake news” has been sweeping the nation – or has it? Today we’re joined by Kate Andrews, News Editor at the IEA and Head of Education Dr Steve Davies. Steve argues that, unlike what many in the mainstream media would have you believe, “fake news” is nothing new.
In fact, trawling through history, we see that “Fake news” has been around in innumerable ways, shapes and forms, for centuries – even millennia.
There is no one kind of fake news, and Kate and Steve examine some of the major distinctions between them, particularly in regards to intention and trust in mainstream.
Finally, they examine how to spot fake news – and what we can all do to halt its dissemination and create a higher standard of debate.