Prevention is the cure

As local authorities and government departments scale back spending, there is concern from those on the front-line that cuts to “non-essential” and non-statutory services will have negative long-term impacts. Preventative interventions  - those with intrinsically inivisible impact in the short term – are particularly vulnerable. Simultaneously, at the frontier of state retrenchment, the Big Society is scheduled to blossom to fill the voids created.


Why the cap won’t fit

The introduction of the migration cap in the UK has unleashed a Pandora's box of questions for Secretary of State, Theresa May. Who exactly should be restricted from entering the UK? At what limit should the cap be set? Will this tool really help to restrict migration? Is a cap beneficial for the UK economy? More

Cloned meat and the Daily Mail

We have an unusual relationship with the Daily Mail here at nef.  The politics of many, though not quite all of us, would rule out giving Lord Northcliffe’s offspring house room.  On the other hand, the Mail – and the Mail alone – has run with many of the most important new economics campaigns, including the ghost towns and small shops.

The Northcliffe Press’s Save Our Small Shops campaign was imaginative and genuinely indicative of what people really want – not just what the politicians say they want. 


72 months and counting

Organised expectation-management has become the politics of the climate talks in Cancún.


David Fleming, 1940-2010

David was always inspirational, and quietly innovative, and I was always excited after conversations with him.  As well as the role he played in developing the organisation that eventually became nef, he was one of the founders of the Green Party and its economic spokesman in the late 1980s.


Chicken Licken and the trouble with home ownership

Agonised estate agents are on the Today programme most mornings at the moment, worrying about the state of the housing market.  Is it stagnating?  Is it actually falling?  Aaaaah! There is just a hint of Chicken-Licken about it.


Cameron’s well-being index could help transform lives for the better

Last week’s news that the government is to start measuring subjective well-being sounded, as Jules Peck argued at Left Foot Forward last week, like very good news for progressives. Yesterday we heard more of the details of what is being proposed – with a vision that just might start to transform the business of policy-making. More

The resistible rise of Ghost Town Britain

Back in 2002, nef published a report called Ghost Town Britain, which warned of the coming tipping point which could plunge many high streets into the kind of economic oblivion of shutters and old newspapers that afflicts so many town centres in North America.

Various factors seem to be coming together to sharpen that threat again.  They include:


Putting well-being at the heart of local places

Last year, as part of a project for a London-based charity, a colleague and I spoke to a number of people working in local government. We asked them how their day-to-day work related to well-being. Often, they were perplexed by the question. Their whole working lives had been spent trying to do things like improving the provision of services to vulnerable adults, or to create healthier local populations. Surely, they said, everything they did was about well-being.


Beware the security guard state

You probably didn't hear about it, but a couple of weeks ago, West London’s  shiny new Westfield  Shopping centre came under attack. By middle-aged librarians. A trio of them in fact, handing out leaflets about cuts to the local library service. More

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