High and dry streets?

Last week’s report from Colliers CRE, highlighted in the Financial Times (£), shows a polarising nation of shopkeepers: with growing inequality between the UK’s thriving high streets and those that are “degenerating” or failing.

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Why we all have the right to a share of city space

Over the past few months news has emerged of three seemingly unrelated proposals, potentially affecting two ostensibly unrelated groups’ equal access to certain London spaces. Interestingly these proposals have not been connected in the media – but they should have been!

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Philip Hammond speeds past democracy

In the foreword to the High Speed 2 consultation documents Philip Hammond, the Secretary of State for Transport, promises that “no final decisions will be taken until everyone has had their opportunity to have their say”.  But with the Secretary of State for Transport launching the campaign in favour of HS2 this week, it seems clear that he and the Department for Transport are closing t More

Why the NHS reforms are now not radical enough

So in one bound, the coalition has leapt triumphantly into embracing a wholly different series of NHS reforms.  Instead of GPs driving forward the commissioning process, there will be appointees representing hospital doctors, nurses and others. 

The brave new compromise looks a great deal more like the old PCTs, which are still twitching away prior to being dead and buried.

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Tennis and the economics of joy

It’s the beginning of the tennis season and I love tennis. In fact tennis is the one sport that I will really run around for, as most of the time I am not a creature of speed.  But I also love to watch tennis – especially when played on the quintessentially British grass courts of Wimbledon and Queens.  Yesterday tennis fans were treated to a great final contested by the great British hope – Andy Murray – and one of the great showmen of the circuit – France’s Jo-Wilfried Tsonga.

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Celebrating 25 years of nef

A quarter of a century ago, the founders of nef launched this organisation with a small office, and a staff of just two people, in Elephant & Castle in London.

They never really intended it to become a conventional think-tank.  The plan was to create an international secretariat for The Other Economic Summit (TOES), the innovative series of conferences that challenged the G7 two years before.  From the start, there were questions whether an organisation with such a wide remit and bold ambition could ever attract funding.

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Mmmm! I know that tastes good… I’ve seen the ad!

For anybody who worries that the advertising and marketing industry is artificially creating insatiable wants in people, the latest edition of Wired magazine makes disturbing reading.

It describes a new study in the Journal of Consumer Research, and it is all about how advertising can trick the part of the brain that deals with long-term memory (the hippocampus).

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Value of everything and the price of nothing?

Yesterday saw the release of key findings of the long-anticipated National Ecosystem Assessment (NEA), a pioneering project looking at the value of nature to people in the UK. If you’re one to consider economists as knowing the price of everything and the value of nothing, this should give you pause for thought.

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Cambridge grocer says no to clones

Above: Campaigners in Cambridge demonstrate against Tesco's proposed store on Mill Road

Further evidence of the impact of nef’s Clone Town Britain campaign, which began now seven years ago, was in the Times last week (behind the paywall).

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Video: The UK Good Banking Summit

This video gives a taste of the event with short interviews with Sian Williams (Toynbee Hall), John Christensen (Tax Justice Network), Catherine Howarth (Fair Pensions), Neal Lawson (Compass), Lindsay Mackie (Post Bank Coalition), Tony Greenham (nef) and Andrew Simms (nef)

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