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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.
With the celebration of Inter Faith Week and Mitzvah Day this week, faith communities will again have the opportunity to show us that they are the architects and builders of civil society.
This year, the concept of community or locally owned energy has, to some extent, gone mainstream. Large scale projects such as Neilston, Westmill and Lochcarnan have hit local headlines, and politicians have hit the headlines nationally, expressing effusive support.
Parish and town councils are the closest level of governance to the local community, but have historically had less power over local issues than larger councils. There was a big shift to this last month, when Local Works achieved their latest campaign aim to extend the powers of the Sustainable Communities Act to these small local councils.
Poverty is costly for the British Government. It has to cover large parts of the living costs for millions of people who earn less than the defined living standards; in the meantime this keeps the poor stuck in a poverty trap.
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.
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