The Week, 30 September 2016

30 September 2016

At the Labour Party conference Rt Hon Jeremy Corbyn MP put education at the top of his agenda. He proposed a National Education Service that would be “every bit as vital as the National Health Service.” The party would raise corporation tax by less than 1.5 per cent to give grants to college and university students as well as investing in a Childcare Taskforce to transform early years education.

At the Conservative Party conference Reform is hosting two public fringe events. Monday’s debate will focus on early years education with Neil Carmichael MP, Chair of the Education Committee, and Tuesday’s on whether the UK is media fit for the digital age with the Rt Hon Matt Hancock MP, Minister of State for Digital and Culture. For more information please visit

Kate Laycock, Researcher, Reform

Reformer of the week

Rt Hon Greg Clark MP, the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, spoke at the Institute of Directors about the importance of devolving industrial strategy to a local level.

Reactionary of the week

Boris Johnson, the Foreign Secretary, suggested that at least £5 billion extra could be available to the NHS post Brexit. Policymakers should focus on making the NHS more productive rather than just on spending inputs.

Good week for …

Patient care

On Saturday, the British Medical Association called off a series of five day strikes as the divisions between junior doctors became increasingly apparent.

Digital Tax

On Thursday, HM Revenue & Customs launched a voluntary pay-as-you-go digital tax system designed for the so-called ‘gig economy’ and smaller firms.

High-cost patients

On Friday, Lord Ara Darzi, former Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State at the Department of Health, put forward plans for high-quality, low-cost interventions to keep patients with multiple comorbidities out of hospital.

Bad week for …

NHS sustainability

On Tuesday, in her conference speech, the Shadow Health Secretary Diane Abbott MP said she would oppose Sustainability and Transformation Plans.

GP recruitment

On Tuesday, the British Medical Association warned that the Government is not on course to meet its target of recruiting an extra 5,000 GPs by 2020.

Complaints against police officers

On Thursday, figures showed that complaints against police officers are down 93 per cent since the introduction of body-worn cameras.

Quotes of the week

“While the state has a role in creating the right conditions for growth, endlessly subsidising individual industries only leads to stifled innovation and uncompetitive firms. In the business community there is little appetite for widespread government intervention.“

Simon Walker, the director general of the Institute of Directors speaking on Monday

“Governments are fond of quoting national figures, of economic growth, of productivity, of employment. But the truth is economic growth does not exist in the abstract. It happens in particular places when a business is set up, or takes on more people, or expands its production. Yet for too long, government policy has treated every place as if they were identical. Many of the policies and decisions that form our industrial strategy will not be about particular industries or sectors, but will be cross-cutting.“

Greg Clark MP, Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, speaking at the Institute of Directors on Tuesday

“That is why I will fight, with every breath in my body, against [Theresa May’s] new grammar schools. She has produced no evidence that grammar schools help social mobility. Selection – or segregation as it should be called – entrenches division and increases inequality. …

I want to see a Labour government put as much effort into expanding technical, vocational education and meaningful apprenticeships, as we did with higher education. With our country facing a massive skills gap, we need to equip our young people with the expertise and abilities that Britain needs.“

Angela Rayner MP, Shadow Education Secretary, speaking at the Labour Party Conference on Tuesday

Reform‘s week

Last Friday, Ben Dobson, Researcher at Reform, wrote an article for Prospect magazine highlighting barriers to academy chain expansion uncovered in Academy chains unlocked.

On Monday, Ben Dobson, Researcher at Reform, wrote an article for Public Finance arguing that funding for academies in a chain should be given to the central chain rather than individual schools.

On Monday, Reform convened two private roundtables at the Labour party conference. One was about whether employers should play a greater role in employee healthcare. The other was about achieving the right policy framework for investment.

The Reformer blog

On Monday, Sarah Ford, Director of Corporate Communications at Simplyhealth, wrote a blog about how employers could support healthcare, such as through giving time off to care for a relative.

On Wednesday, Lasha Antadze, co-author of Auction 3.0, wrote a fifth blog in the blockchain series about how the technology is being used in Ukraine to improve transparency and competition when selling state land.

On Wednesday, Sir David Dalton, Chief Executive of Salford Royal NHS Foundation Trust, wrote a blog about how seamless provision across the whole patient pathway could be achieved in healthcare through a new approach to commissioning where a lead provider was responsible for the whole patient pathway.



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