Ruth Porter appeared on Radio 4’s “Any Questions?” . The discussion focussed on the recent select committee report on the IPCC, military intervention in Mali, food banks and welfare, and the nature of childcare in the UK.
Regarding the future of the IPCC, Ruth Porter supported the recent Home Affairs Select Committee’s report agreeing that it required more resourcing to function effectively. She argued that public confidence had been undermined not only in the IPCC but also in MPs and journalists and that time and a culture change are needed to restore trust.
When the discussion was brought to the situation in Mali, Ruth Porter stated that there are two major motivations for military intervention:
1. To prevent Mali from becoming a “seedbed” of future threats to the UK
2. To prevent atrocities in the region
However, Ms Porter also argued that outcomes of military intervention are difficult to predict and that the UK should only consider this action as a last resort.
Discussing food banks with regards to public spending cuts, Ruth Porter stated that the idea of addressing poverty by increasing government spending on welfare was deeply flawed and that proponents of this strategy have a lot to answer for. Arguing that increasing poverty and economic stagnation are not due to austerity measures, Ms Porter suggested that the key to tackling these issues is through the reduction of living costs by minimising excessive regulation particularly in both the energy and housing sectors.
Regarding the changing nature of childcare in the UK, Ruth Porter argued that the increases in regulation during the previous Labour government halved the number of independent child minders creating a strong bias for nurseries and increasing costs. Childcare in the UK is amongst the most expensive in the world despite spending more than the EU average on it. Ms Porter stated that the industry should be deregulated in line with the rest of the EU and that major childcare decisions should be left to parents.
Listen to the full episode here.