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.
Global financial markets have been flying up and down and all over the place this week, and it’s all to do with one boot-shaped country in the Mediterranean. Italy has found itself embroiled in a power struggle between Eurosceptic populists – winners of the March general election – and the pro-EU establishment. The ramifications have spread across the globe and will affect Britons from big-time investors to anyone building up a pension pot. Also in this episode, This is Money editor Simon Lambert, presenter Georgie Frost and personal finance editor Rachel Rickard Straus talk about what you can do to stop your dream house move falling through, and whether proposals to make tax on savings and dividends simpler will work – or just see savers pay more tax. And finally, in troubled times for the high street, the team look at one retailer bucking the trend.
Today we’re joined by author and academic Dr Joanna Williams, and the IEA’s Head of Lifestyle Economics Christopher Snowdon, to discuss freedom and feminism in the 21st century. Right now, the authoritarians seems to be winning the battle of ideas, following a raft of new nanny state legislation over the last few years – with ever more draconian schemes in the pipeline. Interviewed by the IEA’s Kate Andrews, Chris and Joanna take a look at what all of this means for ordinary consumers – and whether we can expect a backlash against the nanny state, embodied by groups like Public Health England. They also examine what is becoming an increasingly puritanical culture around feminism, and what the future holds for the movement in the wake of the ‘Me Too’ campaign.
In this episode of Policy Matters, hosts Franz Buscha and Matt Dickson are joined by Dr Lindsey Macmillan from University College London to discuss the role of education in social mobility. Issues relating to education are never far from the policy agenda or the headlines – whether it is early years education, university tuition fees or the possible return of grammar schools. But what does academic research tell us about the role of education at each age and stage in improving life-chances of children from poorer backgrounds, and what does this mean for policy? Franz and Matt discuss these issues with Lindsey; and also consider the limits as to what education policy can achieve, given the way that the UK labour market – and wider society – is structured.
We live in a time of considerable intolerance towards free speech – on campus – and, increasingly, in broader society as well. But just how widespread is the situation – and how did we get here? On this week’s podcast, we were joined by Claire Fox, Director of the Academy of Ideas, and Kristian Niemietz, the IEA’s Head of Health and Welfare.
They examined so-called “Generation Snowflake” – a term often used to describe a perceived millennial distrust in free expression. They discussed how common these views actually are amongst the young, how seriously we should take them, and who else may be to blame for this culture of intolerance.