Universal basic income is now one of the most fashionable concepts in progressive politics. With automation increasing and wages stagnating, the theory is that giving everyone a set amount of money each year will liberate them to do what they want with their lives – and keep them out of poverty. But some people think universal basic income is an utopian impossibility. Others think it’s dangerous. So there’s a proposal for another solution: universal basic services. Instead of giving people money, why not guarantee all of the public services they need to live a full life? Ayeisha Thomas-Smith explores the two ideas with Barb Jacobson, Co-ordinator of Basic Income UK, and Anna Coote, New Economics Foundation Principal Fellow.
In the first of this new series, Policy Matters, Franz Buscha and Matt Dickson discuss social mobility – what does it mean, how do we measure it, what is it like in the UK and why is it an important issue?
From Tony Blair to Theresa May, incoming prime ministers have talked boldly about the socially mobile Britain that their government will create, and social mobility has become a much-discussed topic in academia and public policy debates. But what would it mean to have a more socially mobile Britain, how could it be achieved, and what barriers stand in the way? Taking a broad overview of the topic, Franz and Matt consider their own personal mobility and why it is so difficult for the political rhetoric to be translated into effective policy.
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.
A nerve agent attack on an ex-Russian spy and his daughter in Salisbury has led to a retaliation by the UK government – expelling diplomats and ramping up a war of words. With Putin winning another huge election victory last week, some people are worried that we’re entering a new Cold War. Meanwhile, UK gas supplies have run low thanks to the recent winter freeze. What if Russia were to switch off our gas? Has it done it to other countries? And how would we get by? Ayeisha Thomas-Smith is joined by Dave Powell, who leads on the environment for NEF, and Dustin Benton, policy director for the environmental think tank Green Alliance.
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.
UK politics is experiencing a realignment – with the old divides of left and right gradually giving way to new fault lines, based on social values, attitudes to immigration and a sense of national identity. That’s the view of Dr Steve Davies, who believes that the political parties of Britain are, increasingly, at odds with the electorate and their own core voters. This situation, he argues, has been exposed and exacerbated by the results of the EU referendum in 2016. A realignment in British politics is now inevitable.
Today, the IEA’s News Editor sat down with Steve to discuss his theory, what it means for UK politics, and how the two major parties will navigate these momentous changes over the next few years.
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.
Helal Miah from The Share Centre explained the background to this week’s biggest story: Comcast’s takeover bid for Sky. He also looked at updates from Associated British Foods, which owns Primark and Twinings Tea, as well as ITV and advertising giant, WPP. Looking ahead, Helal focused on expected updates from online takeaway firm, Just Eat, and Rolls Royce.
Professor Tim Evans of Middlesex University explains why the left/right divide is becoming less and less important. Voters’ primary concern is no longer tax, spending and the size of the public sector. Instead votes are now split around ‘internationalism’ which means attitudes to immigration, trade and the like. Tim also looks at whether the UK needs to spend more money on ‘digital defence’ as well as the decline of the traditional British establishment.
Hastened by sluggish productivity growth, the once unfashionable idea of a centrally planned Industrial Strategy is back on the political agenda in Britain. But will it have the desired effect? Joining us today is the IEA’s Head of Transport Dr Richard Wellings, along with Head of Tech Policy Diego Zuluaga.
The pair take a look at how industrial strategies have historically fared around the world, and examine the extent to which we can rely on the free market to deliver the infrastructure we need – and where government should fit into all this.
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