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?
In this week’s programme: Hotel booking sites have been told to sort themselves out following an investigation by the competition watchdog over whether they work in the best interest of consumers. Plus – whisper it softly – but there may be some good news for savers, including from a bank called “Marcus”… but don’t be fooled by the friendly-sounding name. Moving into the realms of retirement – how much do you really need to save, and will having a specific figure in mind help you achieve it? And finally, we take a look at the winners and losers of the World Cup so far… both on and off the pitch!
Today we’re joined by the IEA’s Director General Mark Littlewood and Research Director Jamie Whyte on the 70th birthday of the National Health Service. Interviewed by News Editor Kate Andrews, they discuss how – despite all the praise around the NHS the past few weeks – the system is an international laggard on many key measures including health outcomes, survival rates and waiting times. Whilst cash injections may help in the short term, they will prove to be a waste of taxpayers’ money if structural changes are not made alongside investment. Far from celebrating the NHS this week, policymakers should be considering wholesale reform of the centralised system to improve patient care and save lives.
New Economics Foundation weekly podcast is back with a hot topic: Environment. In this week podcast Ayeisha Thomas-Smith is joined by Dave Powell, head of environment at the New Economics Foundation, and Alice Bell, director at climate charity 10:10 to discuss one of the most fashionable economic ideas of the past decade: The idea that a little prod from government can encourage us to change our behaviour and be better citizens, maybe without even realising it. Meanwhile, good old-fashioned regulation seems to have been decidedly out of favour with recent governments – and leaving the market to just do its thing isn’t all that popular with campaigners.
When it comes to the environment, do all of these approaches have their place? What works best? And are there better or worse ways to make sure our economy doesn’t wreck the planet?
Adam Cox is joined by international speaker and TV presenter Luke Scott, to talk about why he rejected corporate life as sales director of a major software firm to build his own lifestyle brand. Luke talks about how few business owners and managers lead effectively, and why “conscious leadership” can make a dramatic difference to results. He also provides some tips about how to build a personal brand, and shares why it’s an exciting time to celebrate what makes you stand out – and how that can be monetised. Find out more at www.lukescottofficial.com.
Professor Tim Evans of Middlesex University ponders what a "no deal" Brexit might be like if we had to fall back on the WTO default option. He also looks at the growing number of Russian journalists fighting back against disinformation and fake news and laments the worsening situation in Venezuela, where inflation has now passed 40,000%.
James Cameron-Wilson examines a UK box office hit by the hot weather and World Cup. He reviews new films Sicario 2: Soldado, Patrick, Tag and Adrift, the latter two both based on true stories. He also looks at the home release of a favoured recent film Lean on Pete.
The UK's worsening infrastructure is making us ever less competitive. Dan Lewis is the author of a report on the problem for the Institute of Directors. He explains what we should be doing about broadband and the 5G rollout as well as calling for digitised railway signalling throughout the country, improved data capture on roads and greater use of buses and coaches. Transportation for the Northern Powerhouse, he believes, should avoid the expense of land purchases and going underground with tunnels for Maglevs or Hyperloops.
Steve Caplin peers through his pince-nez at a Photoshop add-on to detect digitally-altered images, a headset to help you sleep, a football pitch-painting robot, Volvo's self-parking yacht, a smart tail-light for bikes and a clever extra screen for laptop users as well as wincing at the New Yorker who made a stool using no tools whatsoever.