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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.
Given the political pressure over recent weeks and months it would be surprising if the Chancellor did not make an announcement aimed at tackling the increasing rates burden on businesses in his Autumn Statement this week.
I have just two wishes: something old and something new. Something new would be that The Chancellor could allow investors to include loan-based crowdfunding investments in their annual ISA allowance It is now possible to include unlisted AIM shares in your ISA allowance, and the Treasury is understood to be generally supportive of increasing the range of qualifying investments, potentially including crowdfunding, into ISAs.
Housing is breaking through as a mainstream policy issue more strongly than it has done for a decade or more. That’s primarily down to two factors; growing public concern around accessing ownership and the wider costs of living; and cross party recognition that this is not so much a problem, but rather a full-blown crisis.
There is no questioning that the most pressing issue in domestic politics today is housing. With millions of individuals and families waiting for social housing and many first time buyers priced out the market, it is clear that current housing policy is failing.
Last month Russell Brand espoused his disdain for our ‘broken political system’. He asserted that, by voting, we endorse the inadequacy of our leaders and reinforce the imbalance of our flawed system of democracy.
In previous decades the UK’s education system has been targeted for numerous reforms, but in many ways its potential has barely been tapped. The biggest failure of today’s vision of educational reform is its inability to see schools as the generators of social, political and economic capital that they could be.
Why has a local food movement that started in a rather run-down Yorkshire mill town turned into a phenomenon that’s catching people’s imagination around the world? Incredible Edible Todmorden has been going six years since its co-founder, Pam Warhurst, came back from a conference inspired to take action in her community; since community worker Mary Clear dug up her rose garden and planted vegetables with a big sign saying ‘help yourself’; and since ‘propaganda planter’ Nick Green turned the derelict medical centre where mass murderer Harold Shipman used to practice into a free feast for passers-by.
At the same time as facing increased demand for services, councils up and down the country are grappling with significant reductions to their budgets. This cannot go on indefinitely – something has to give.
The Church is a longstanding driver of social innovation. Just a brief glance through history reveals myriad examples of churches engaged in the service of their communities. From monasteries pioneering educational and health care services to modern-day food banks, the Christian community has embarked upon local social innovation at countless levels.
The need for a new approach It often seems that our current political class is unable to break out of the paucity of partisan debate, whereby solutions must be either market-based or state-based.
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