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The Disraeli Room is a hub for new ideas, commentary and analysis. ResPublica's blog is named after the great reforming Prime Minister of the nineteenth century, Benjamin Disraeli, and welcomes contributions from across the political, academic and professional spectrum.
The regulation of organisations and markets is a costly affair. State regulation currently costs the UK economy somewhere in the region of £30bn every year. Employment laws, health and safety regulations and financial compliance legislation provide the bulk of these costs.
I had the privilege to chair an excellent discussion at the ResPublica fringe meeting on public service innovation. The conversation focused primarily but not exclusively on the social sector’s contribution. Speakers including Nick Hurd, Minister for Civil Society, acknowledged that the social sector – charities, community groups, social enterprises and co-operatives – have a long record of innovation.
Labour’s plan to reduce non-EU immigration has polarised public and political agendas over the past week, mainly due to the pledge to secure ‘a Brit job for every foreign worker’, also known in the media as ‘the apprentice tax’.
True, our energy bills are soaring and more households are sinking into fuel poverty, but such endemic problems are the result of much larger infrastructural issues that the party leaders must address.
The UK economy remains in transition. Growth is slow. Austerity is the new norm. It will be with us for another decade or more as an antidote to the poisonous effects of some of the mistakes of the past.
At the Liberal Democrat party conference last weekend, ResPublica changed the debate on payday loans, exploring both the drawbacks and advantages of short term credit. The verdict: not that guilty after all.
The Department for Energy and Climate Change is currently reviewing its policy towards community energy, seeking evidence of its benefits and a better understanding of the barriers to its development. Earlier this year, as part of my Clore Social Leadership Fellowship, I was seconded to the National Trust to look at how it is supporting the development of a community hydro scheme on its land in North Wales.
The Church of England’s contribution to the controversial debate over payday loan companies has received a good deal of media coverage. This is of course an issue that has troubled politicians and even professional football players (in the case of Papiss Cisse and his Newcastle shirt!).
With so much focus on the Energy Bill and reforms to overhaul the electricity market, the provision of our heat is often relegated to the side-lines. But nearly half (44%) of the energy we use in the UK is for heating – whether this be for industry, businesses or our houses – and must therefore be just as central to discussions regarding our decentralised and low carbon future.
The city of Berlin has just become adorned with posters and billboards communicating the various campaigns of the major political parties. With the next General Election on the horizon (22nd September), much is on the agenda and much is at stake, not least the future of Germany’s Energiewende – literally ‘energy turnaround’ or ‘energy transition’ – that will see the continued phase-out of nuclear power stations and growth of renewables in the next decades.
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