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Ryan Bourne
17 September 2014
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With low productivity, high inflation and terrible industrial relations, in 1977, Britain was a basket case. So that year, businessman John Hoskyns decided to dedicate substantial effort to analysing...
Ryan Bourne
14 September 2014
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Most politicians and commentators think the ‘cost of living’ and its inverse ‘low pay’ are areas of serious concern for public policy. But for some, like the journalist Owen...
Ryan Bourne
12 September 2014
5 comments

Concern about ‘low pay’ and the ‘cost of living’ are two sides of the same coin. Pay is deemed ‘low’ when the prices of things we need to buy are rising...
Ryan Bourne
9 September 2014
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Why do politicians advocate policies which deal with the symptoms of problems rather than the underlying issues directly? In the past week we’ve seen Liberal Democrats react to expensive...
Ryan Bourne
7 September 2014
2 comments

Today marks the start of the IEA’s ‘Cutting the UK's Cost of Living’ month as part of our 2020 Vision programme – an attempt to shine a light on key issues which we...
Ryan Bourne
12 August 2014
2 comments

It’s that time of year when the City’s offices seem empty. For many families with children, these weeks represent the last opportunity of the year to get away for a well-earned break. Yet...
Ryan Bourne
5 August 2014
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The classical liberal French economist Frédéric Bastiat once said that ‘government is the great fiction, through which everybody endeavours to live at the expense of everybody...
Ryan Bourne
29 July 2014
1 comment

‘The UK is becoming a low-skilled, low-pay economy, and ordinary workers aren’t sharing in the proceeds of growth.’ How often do we hear this? Those who articulate these views,...
Ryan Bourne
25 July 2014
4 comments

Don’t you miss Jeremy Paxman already? On Newsnight he would ask persistently the question that politicians were trying to obfuscate on, to try to obtain a straight answer. This clarity helped...
Ryan Bourne
18 July 2014
18 comments

As the discussion regarding the future of the BBC licence fee rumbles on ahead of the 2016 Charter Review, the BBC’s Director of Policy James Heath has helpfully laid out in two separate blog...
Ryan Bourne
15 July 2014
3 comments

The row between former chancellor Lord Lawson and the BBC has escalated over the past week. In a letter to a green activist, the head of the BBC’s Editorial Complaints Unit, Fraser Steel, has...
Ryan Bourne
9 July 2014
1 comment

You can often tell where someone is coming from in public policy debates by their use of language. In Capital in the Twenty-First Century, for example, Thomas Piketty uses the word ‘claimed...
Ryan Bourne
8 July 2014
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With Monty Python at the O2 arena and ongoing coverage of the NHS, I was reminded last week of the Python sketch showing a lady giving birth. Unfortunately for her, the doctors played by John Cleese...
Ryan Bourne
1 July 2014
1 comment

Few subjects generate emotion in UK politics like the funding of the NHS. Warnings of the health service’s imminent collapse are ten a penny, while politicians love to talk about ‘saving...
Philip Booth and Ryan Bourne
26 June 2014
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Yesterday, Labour forced a Commons vote on allowing the Office for Budget Responsibility (OBR) to audit the manifestos of political parties. It followed a letter sent by Ed Balls to George Osborne...
Ryan Bourne
24 June 2014
1 comment

A lack of authenticity among politicians is a common lament. Conservative MP Sarah Wollaston expressed this conventional wisdom recently when she said: ‘I think the public dislike the cardboard...
Ryan Bourne
17 June 2014
1 comment

The British tax system just isn’t progressive enough, the Equality Trust claimed yesterday. After citing survey figures showing that 68 per cent of the UK population believe households in the...
Ryan Bourne
13 June 2014
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Zero-hours contracts. High prices. Benefit cuts. Unemployment. Childcare costs. According to the international development charity Oxfam, the combination of these individual factors in Britain has...
Ryan Bourne
10 June 2014
3 comments

Like many others, on Sunday evening I watched Soccer Aid – an annual charity football match featuring well-known ex-footballers and a raft of celebrities. All funds raised go to Unicef, to...
Ryan Bourne
7 June 2014
3 comments

Given the huge structural challenges our economy still faces and with the government still borrowing around £100 billion per year, it felt somewhat trivial for Queen’s Speech day to be...