The Week, 1 April 2016

1 April 2016

Today, more than 1.3 million workers will be getting a pay rise as the National Living Wage (NLW), announced in the 2015 Summer budget, comes into force. There is some disagreement about the actual impact of this reform. Its supporters believe it will help address the problem of low pay and incentivise workers to return to the labour market. Its detractors estimate that there could be 60,000 job losses as a direct consequence and that the potential benefits of the NLW will be offset by other benefit and tax changes.

Eleonora Harwich, Researcher

Reformer of the week

The Investment Association, who proposed that companies move away from quarterly reporting in order to tackle short-termism in business and incentivise long-term value-adding investments.

Reactionary of the week

Legal experts, for arguing against splitting up the HM Revenue and Customs’ £10 billion Aspire IT contract.

Good week for …

Outcome-focused public services

Last Wednesday, the Cabinet Office announced the creation of the Government Outcomes Lab, in partnership with Oxford University. Its mission is to find innovative ways for the public sector to commission services while ensuring better social outcomes.

National wellbeing

Last Thursday, the ONS released its latest report on national wellbeing which showed that 17 out of the 41 measures used in the assessment were deemed to have improved over the last three years, with just 8 measures deteriorating.

New businesses

On Wednesday, the Department for Work and Pensions announced that 80,830 new businesses had been created by jobseekers thanks to the New Entreprise Allowance.

Working role models

Also on Wednesday, new ONS figures revealed that the proportion of children living in workless households has continued to fall.

Healthcare devolution

On Friday, Manchester created a new body which integrates health and social care as a way to improve patient care and deliver value for money.

Bad week for …

Pupil absence

Last Thursday, Department for Education statistics revealed a slight increase in pupil absence during the 2014-15 period compared to the previous academic year. This was mainly driven by an increase in illness. The numbers also showed a slight increase in persistent absentees.

GP recruitment targets

On Monday, Pulse revealed that the Government is set to miss its target of recruiting 5,000 more GPs by 2020. The estimates show that it will only manage to attract a maximum of 2,100 more GPs.

End of life care

On Thursday, a new report by the Royal College of Physicians found that patients are not receiving adequate palliative care.

Household savings

Also on Thursday, the ONS reported that household savings have declined in the last quarter. Households are now setting aside less than half what they were saving in 2012.

Quotes of the week

“It isn’t for me, or officials in Whitehall, or Ofsted to decide how best to teach or run schools – it’s for you: the teachers who know better than anyone what works in the classroom and what your pupils need.”

The Rt Hon Nicky Morgan MP, speaking on Saturday.

“We can get people involved in service provision around the same table and design services around people and places … Greater Manchester is big enough to have economies of scale but small enough to recognise localism. Whitehall can’t do that”

Tony Lloyd, interim mayor of Greater Manchester.

Reform’s Week

Last Saturday, Charlotte Pickles, Senior Research Director at Reform, appeared on BBC and ITV News in the wake of Iain Duncan Smith’s resignation as the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions. She argued that any further savings from the welfare bill should be taken from pensioner benefits.

Last Monday, Alexander Hitchcock, Researcher at Reform, appeared on BBC Radio Berkshire to discuss Slough Clinical Commissioning Group’s initiative to reform primary-care services. He argued that primary care at scale could improve outcomes for patients at a lower cost to the taxpayer.

Also on Monday, Charlotte Pickles appeared on BBC Newsnight to discuss welfare reform, arguing that saving money has increasingly taken precedence over reforming the welfare state to deliver better outcomes.

Last Tuesday, Reform hosted an evening reception, in partnership with the Home Office, debating the motion, ‘This house believes that technology will generate more crime than it will solve’.

On Saturday, The Economist cited Reform’s research on whether welfare reform policies are increasingly hitting the poor rather than the rich.

The Reformer Blog

Last Wednesday, Thomas Sasse, Research Assistant at Reform, wrote a blog arguing that extended diagnostic and care services within primary care could save the NHS money and improve outcomes for patients.

Last Thursday, Andrew Haldenby, Director at Reform, published a video blog discussing his reaction to the Budget, Reform’s recent series of events and Reform’s latest report on public procurement.

Last Friday, Elizabeth Crowhurst, Researcher at Reform, wrote a blog exploring whether technology will create more crime than it prevents.

On Thursday, William Mosseri-Marlio, Researcher at Reform, wrote a blog arguing that the new Lifetime ISA may have adverse consequences for homeownership.

On Friday, Alexander Hitchcock, Researcher at Reform, wrote a blog arguing that the expected failure of the Government to hit their targets for GP numbers should be used as an opportunity to apply a more sustainable approach to the workforce.

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