Taking children’s perspectives on material deprivation

This month The Children’s Society launched a report on their new, child-centred deprivation index. Drawing on focus group and survey research with young people across the UK, and using multiple regression analysis, The Children’s Society argue that taking children’s perspectives on material deprivation into account produces a very different picture of what it means to be deprived than that assumed within conventional measures such as family income and employment. More

Bank of England back on the warpath against ‘dishonest banks’

The Bank of England’s Robert Jenkins launched a blistering attack on the UK banking sector earlier this week, accusing it of “intellectual dishonesty” as bank executives warned that new rules emanating from the Basel Committee could lead to reduced lending. In a speech in London titled ‘Lessons in Lobbying’, Jenkins undermined the banking profession, saying:

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We need proper solar subsidies

“Correctly phased renewable subsidies are by their nature temporary. The very purpose of subsidies is to kick start new and desirable industries. As those new industries stand on their own two feet subsidies can be phased out. Subsidies of fossil-fuel and nuclear energy can only increase over time."

That is the argument for proper subsidies for the solar industry, and very well put by Ben Goldsmith, himself an important investor in this field.

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Northern Rock and the Royal Mail - why we should all be disheartened

Two bits of news this week have managed to be equally disheartening although one, at first glance, looks like good news. This was yesterday's announcement from Royal Mail that its financial performance has improved so much that in the first six months of this year revenue rose 4 percent. Losses on parcels and letters were down from last year; the Post Office made an operating profit of £55 million and profits on Royal Mail's European parcel business rose 10 percent.

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We need the exact opposite of Richard Branson’s economic prescription

Fresh from his bargain-basement purchase of Northern Rock, tycoon Richard Branson offers his three-point blueprint for economic recovery. A “lost generation” is at stake, he claims, correctly, if the economy does not recover.

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How can Osborne get Great Britain plc moving again?

At the heart of the economic crisis is the collapse in private investment, allied to the collapse of the old, inefficient model of growth. To create employment and develop a sustainable economy, the Government should grant the Green Investment Bank the same powers to create loans as other commercial banks. More

Why we need to build homes again - and give them away

Unborn babies get a lot of attention from the government. Their mothers get free prescriptions. There are ante-natal classes and special hand-outs.

Quite right too. The more we can nurture unborn babies and their mothers, the healthier they will be in later life.  That’s good economics, quiet apart from anything else. It’s an example of the elusive new economics principle of prevention.

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Let’s not pussyfoot around with the banks

Originally posted at London Loves Business.

There is a simple fact about the UK banking system that is both profound and mundane. It is also little known, and yet the source of much hyperbole. What is this simple fact?

Commercial banks create new money.

This statement often seems to have a strange effect on people, either sending them down to St Paul’s with a Guy Fawkes mask and a tent, or backing away from you in horror as if you had just blasphemed in front of the Pope.

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Selling Northern Rock to Richard Branson won’t mean a better deal for customers

Everyone is talking about how the taxpayer will make a loss from the sale of Northern Rock. But less has been said about the Chancellor’s claim that the sale “will increase choice on the high street for customers”.

It is widely agreed that competition in the retail banking sector is lacklustre. But this sale won’t mean a better deal for consumers, just more business-as-usual.

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In celebration of the Luddites

November 1811 marked the beginning of working class discontent in England, giving rise to the Luddite movement. The growing use of mechanised equipment in the textile industry in Nottinghamshire, Yorkshire and Lancashire reduced skilled artisans to nothing more than factory hands whilst undermining wages. In addition to the growing free-market/ industrial regime, the tearing up of the 18th century social contract by the manufactures fuelled a rebellion of machine breaking and violence. More

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