Will the retained EU Law Bill undermine Sunak’s Windsor Deal? – Centre for European Reform (Europe)
This article argues that the Retained EU law bill in its current form is incompatible with the Windsor Framework. The authors call for UK Prime Minister Rishi Sunak to make significant changes to the REUL bill or scrap it altogether.
FOI decisions cost twice as much as they used to, three in 10 FOI decisions are late and, when reviewed, one in two turns out to be wrong. A review of Australia’s FOI system and culture is urgently needed.
This article outlines the priorities facing the newly elected leader of the Scottish National Party Humza Yousaf. Yousaf must build a new ministerial team that unites his party, set out a credible independence strategy, and ensure relations with the UK Government are reset and refreshed.
A new report by PPF looking at the unique socio-economic microclimate of Atlantic Canada. Based on positive economic and social momentum gathered during the pandemic, which made Atlantic Canada a welcome outlier, the authors of this report identified 20 key social and economic indicators to evaluate whether the ‘Atlantic Canada Bubble’ was a long-term positive trend. The results indicate that this is indeed the case and Atlantic Canada’s indicators paint a bright future for the region.
The IFS gathers a number of materials as a response to the Spring Budget 2023, including a podcast episode analysing the Budget. In his opening remarks, IFS Director Paul Johnson notes that, while the OBR was more positive than many other forecasters about medium-term growth, the overall outlook for Britain’s public finances still looks difficult. Despite the tax burden nearing its highest-ever level and with very tight spending from 2024, debt is not falling due to high debt servicing costs and sluggish nominal growth. He notes that the OBR predicts that the policies aimed at getting people back into work will only result in about 100,000 people re-entering the workforce, a fraction of the numbers lost in recent years. Finally, Johnson warns that British households will feel ‘continuing pain’ in the next year, with prices remaining much higher than two years ago while pay has not caught up, and ‘stealth taxes’ due to take effect next year.
The Resolution Foundation assesses ‘whether the Chancellor has successfully delivered on his central objective of boosting growth through higher employment and business investment.’ It concludes that the Chancellor has undoubtedly focused on policies that encourage more people into work, but that ‘Britain’s economy remains stuck in a deep funk: people may be supported into work but they are getting poorer, paying more tax and seeing public services cuts.’
This article applauds Hunt’s efforts to boost the UK labour supply, whilst insisting the Chancellor must build on the Windsor Framework to restore broken trade links. The Budget may not have been radical, but it takes many small, difficult steps by which growth can be pursued, argues the IfG.
This article asserts that failure to increase public sector pay in line with inflation will hit Wales and the Northeast twice as hard as London between 2022 and 2024. The Spring Budget will bring a further £21.6bn in unannounced cuts to public services by 2027/28, compared to the level of real-terms spending announced by the Chancellor.
In light of the two big announcements in the Budget, getting people back into work and business investment, this article looks at the other main takeaways from the Chancellor’s statement. It asserts that the lack of policy announcements on public services and on domestic energy policy are curious, that the Budget should have reformed the Energy Price Guarantee, and that increasing real incomes should be vital to the nation’s economic recovery.
This article asserts that the Budget ‘saw the Chancellor speak about a high-wage and high-skills economy but do nothing to deliver it. The UK is still in the longest pay squeeze for more than 200 years. And our public services are still run-down and understaffed.’
“High and rising government debt slows growth, crowds out private investment, limits the government’s ability to respond to unexpected emergencies, and elevates the risk of a sudden fiscal crisis, where investors would lose confidence in U.S. Treasury bonds and the U.S. dollar. This fact sheet lays out everything legislators and the public need to know about the U.S. federal debt to help them examine the unsustainability of the U.S. budget.”
Despite headlines, the British economy continues to have many strengths in the face of profound economic challenges. This article looks at how the UK must pursue faster, fairer and greener growth through a formalised ‘new deal’ with businesses.
Prime Ministers and Government Spending: 2023 edition – Fraser Institute (Canada)
This year’s instalment of the Fraser Institute’s report on per capita federal government spending highlights how Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s administration is on track to record the five highest levels of per capita spend (2018-2022) in Canadian history. The report also provides an overview of spending in previous years and under past Prime Ministers.
CBPP welcomes President Biden’s budget proposal for FY2024, saying that it represents a much-needed course correction from the path of trickle-down economics set by the 2017 tax law and towards a tax regime which “raises more needed revenues, is more progressive and equitable, and supports investments that make the economy work for everyone”.
Reform barometer 2023 – The EU’s Global Competitiveness under Threat – Business Europe (Europe)
This year’s instalment of the Business Europe reform barometer finds that around 90% of member federations consider the EU investment environment to be less attractive than three years ago. The report also enumerates a series of other findings on a country-specific basis relating to regulatory burdens and ease of doing business metrics.
35 states and the District of Columbia cut state taxes in 2022, leading to speculation that state fiscal policy is responsible for household spending’s remarkably good performance despite tighter monetary policy, a weak stock market and the end of pandemic-era stimulus cheques. Brookings pours cold water on this assumption, arguing that the state tax cuts have not been so large as to have an impact on the macro-economy.
Centre for Cities’ report, Capital losses: The role of London in the UK’s productivity puzzle, published in partnership with EC BID, shows that over the last 15 years London’s productivity growth has both trailed its international competitors and has been the main cause of the UK’s productivity struggles, costing the national economy tens of billions of pounds per year.’
“The Financial Report of the United States Government (also known as the Financial Report) raises significant concerns about the country’s long‐term financial health with increasing deficits and debt levels. Over the next 75 years, U.S. taxpayers face nearly $80 trillion in long‐term unfunded obligations. What’s more, 95 percent of this unfunded obligation is driven by only two federal government programs: Medicare and Social Security. Here are five key takeaways from the Financial Report.”
With Democrats and Republicans facing off over raising the federal debt limit, Brookings breaks down why it is difficult to reduce federal spending, arguing that across-the-board cuts are ‘perhaps the worst way to cut spending’.
The Cost of Business Subsidies in Canada – Fraser Institute (Canada)
This report analyses the cost of business subsidies in Canada across federal, provincial and local government. It finds that between 2007 and 2019 spending on business subsidies totalled $352.1 billion, $24.6 billion more than the amount spent on national defence in the same period. The authors go on to argue that these levels of spending on subsidies are not sustainable and actually damaging to the economy, urging the Canadian public sector to reconsider the costs these subsidies have for the taxpayer and already-strained government budgets.
CBPP warns against purported plans by House Republicans to cut appropriated programmes to 2022 levels in 2024, a pledge made by Congressman Kevin McCarthy as part of his campaign to be elected as House Speaker and made more salient by Republicans’ calls for deep spending cuts as a condition for raising the debt limit. This report suggests that such deep cuts to federal spending would likely have severe repercussions for a range of programmes still recovering from a decade of austerity.
Biden’s Math of Just Taxing the Rich Doesn’t Add Up – Cato Institute (USA)
President Biden’s budget plan for FY2024 raises about $1.8tn from non-corporate taxpayers over ten years, but Cato finds that, despite the 20 new and expanded taxes contained in the budget, the plan does not raise enough revenue to cover the new spending proposed, much less reduce the $20tn deficit over the next decade.
This article summarises some of the economic and socio-political pressures that economic planners in the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) must prepare for – despite fiscal measures such as price caps on essential items which have kept households in the region relatively insulated from the worst ravages of inflation, GCC states remain highly import-dependent and are therefore very vulnerable to food supply shocks.
Plans to further increase the pension age to 68 (which would have taken place between 2037 and 2039) are likely to be delayed by seven years. Delaying this will cost the Government approximately over £60 billion. Strikingly, raising the pension age from 65 to 66 led to almost a quarter of 65-year-olds ending up in poverty. Clear trade-offs exist between government savings and the wellbeing of pensioners.
With state and local governments struggling to attract and retain well-qualified workers, the Center for American Progress argues that policymakers must tackle several problems at the same time. Actions should include increasing state and local government funding, combating Covid-19 burnout among public sector workers, and closing the pay gap between the public and private sectors.
Measures to tackle labour shortages: lessons for future policy – Eurofound (Europe)
As economies begin to recover from the Covid-19 pandemic, labour shortages are becoming increasingly evident despite the impact of the war in Ukraine on energy and commodity prices. This report looks at measures implemented at a national level to tackle labour shortages in healthcare and information and communication technology sectors, as well as those arising from the twin green and digital transition. It assesses what measures are effective and explores the contextual factors supporting or hindering effective policy implementation and outcomes.
This article delves into the issues private sector employers in the UAE are facing in their efforts to comply with Emiratisation targets set by the UAE Government. Despite incentives for employing UAE nationals, many Emiratis view government jobs as more desirable than the private sector, with public sector employees in Abu Dhabi earning as much as 40% more than those in equivalent private sector jobs. This is complicating the Government’s efforts to fill 10% of private sector roles with UAE nationals by 2026.
This research project involved one of the largest ever surveys of transport workers in the gig economy in Australia. The 1,036 respondents came from the food delivery, parcel delivery and rideshare sectors of the transport industry, where workers are engaged via apps and algorithms to perform transport work for which they are also required to cover their operating costs and equipment, such as vehicles, safety equipment like helmets, fuel, phones and phone bills, and other expenses. The survey examines pay, conditions, safety and flexibility associated with this work.
“In October 2022, Saudi Arabia’s Ministry of Human Resources and Social Development (MHRSD) issued a decision mandating the progressive localization of consultancy professions up to 40% by the end of March 2024. Such targeted localization (or Saudization) of specific professions is not extraordinary in Saudi Arabia.”
The UK continues to stand out internationally as the most regionally unbalanced large, advanced economy. This report asserts that such inequality is not inevitable and that reducing the UK’s regional divides is vital to unlocking national growth.
The latest British Social Attitudes (BSA) survey, carried out in 2022, reveals public satisfaction with health and care services have fallen dramatically. From a peak of 70% in 2010, overall satisfaction with the NHS has fallen to just 29% – the lowest figure recorded since this question was first asked in 1983. Satisfaction with individual NHS services is at record lows across the board, while satisfaction with social care is the lowest of all with only 14% of the public saying they are satisfied with it.
The AEI makes recommendations for how Congress can reduce healthcare costs while increasing competition, specifically focusing on procompetitive policies with bipartisan potential, how these policies would make markets work better, and how they would affect the federal budget. These are, in the AEI’s opinion, the most plausible options for passage in the currently divided Congress.
This article looks at the benefits that digital health and care can bring to the sector. It asserts that digital technologies can make health and care services more accessible, flexible, personable, more efficient, creating a better experience for patients and staff.
As part of their budget plan currently under development, House Republicans are discussing radically restructuring Medicaid. One of the reforms under discussion is changing Medicaid financing to a per capita cap, which, CBPP argues, would come at the expense of millions of Americans who access healthcare through Medicaid, jeopardise coverage, and shift costs to states and healthcare providers.
Australians have had an exceptionally challenging past few years, facing numerous waves of the Covid-19 pandemic and increasingly frequent extreme weather patterns and intense natural disasters. These difficulties have had serious direct and indirect consequences for the mental health of the nation. This report calls for the funding model for community response services, like Lifeline, to move from a ‘crisis response’ model to one that is proactive and regularised.
“The top three costs for the Military Health System (MHS) are health care delivery costs, military medical personnel costs, and Medicare Eligible Retiree Health Care Fund contributions. Determining how to curb burgeoning military health care costs without compromising (1) access to and quality of care or (2) the readiness of military medical personnel continues to be a priority for the Defense Health Agency. The authors of this report conducted a literature review and solicited expert opinions to outline four key policy areas in which further research could be pursued to understand how to reduce MHS costs.”
The new pay deal offers nurses and ambulance workers a non-consolidated bonus, as well as an NHS backlog bonus, in addition to a 5% consolidated pay increase in 2023/24. This, ultimately, is good news for patients and workers, but this article asserts that the government’s hard-line negotiation stance caused considerable damage to staff morale and retention.
The Australia Institute identifies 80 occupations in which men make up 80% or more of the workforce; these occupations have an average salary above $100,000. In contrast, no occupation where women make up that share of the workforce has such a high average salary. The report recommends policies to promote greater access to childcare and parental leave for both parents, family-friendly work practices, and the lifting of wages for industries dominated by women – most urgently in the care sector.
Recent legislation, including the Inflation Reduction Act, Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act and CHIPS and Science Act, are poised to dramatically expand the number of women and people of colour working in industries, such as construction, clean energy and manufacturing, in which they have historically been underrepresented. However, the construction industry has unique features, such as unusual work hours, which make traditional childcare difficult. This report argues that federal funding offers opportunities for states to recruit and retain workers by providing childcare services, and lists three ways they can do this.
This report finds that a lack of affordable accessible childcare is costing the economy billions, damaging the labour supply, and damaging women’s careers.
This policy brief lists findings from a study on non-traditional-hour childcare services in Austin/Travis County, Texas. Findings show that the demand for such services is substantial and outstrips supply, as nearly one in three children with working parents in Austin/Travis County have parents working non-traditional hours, with black and Hispanic Americans overrepresented among these children.
CSIS hails the joint announcement from San Diego of the AUKUS partnership a ‘seminal moment in the relationship between the United States, the United Kingdom, and Australia’. However, it warns that, given the threat posed by China and the People’s Liberation Army, it is likely the rest of the Australian Defence Force (ADF) will need to be restructured to afford the AUKUS submarines and meet the threat from Beijing.
Following the announcement in mid-March 2023 that the trilateral AUKUS partnership between the UK, the US and Australia will deliver conventionally armed, nuclear-powered submarines to the Royal Australian Navy, Brookings experts assess what AUKUS means for the US and its allies, China, Indo-Pacific security and more.
Fragile unity: why Europeans are coming together on Ukraine (and what might drive them apart) – European Council on Foreign Relations (Europe)
A recent multi-country poll for ECFR suggests that Europeans have come closer together in their support for Ukraine. Europeans now agree that Russia is their adversary or rival. Three factors have supported this remarkable coming together: Ukrainian successes in the first year of the war; the way the war has united the political left and right; and the perceived return of a strong West led by the US. But these factors are fragile and European leaders should be careful in their optimism. European policymakers should take advantage of this unity to equip Ukraine, while doing everything they can to mitigate divisions caused by changing circumstances at home and abroad.
This report argues that neurodiversity, like other forms of diversity, enriches any national security organisation, and calls upon employers to provide all employees equally with accommodations which mitigate the effects of sensory stimulation, alongside modifying job vacancies and hiring practices to attract neurodivergent talent.
Carnegie explores the implications of AUKUS and the sea change it represents for the alliance between Washington and Canberra, as Australia works towards becoming a crucial partner in supporting high-end US military operations to preserve the balance of power in the Indo-Pacific region.
Two members of the House Armed Services Committee, Congressmen Mike Waltz and Jason Crow, join CSIS for a discussion on the scale and scope of challenges within the US industrial base for deterrence and warfighting, in an era of increasing geopolitical competition with countries such as China and Russia.
What is the future for global cooperation on democracy – Carnegie Europe (Europe)
Published shortly before the second Summit for Democracy (S4D) led by US President Joe Biden, this Carnegie Europe policy brief chronicles some of the debates about the place of international democracy support in the new geopolitical landscape, and in particular how democracies can cooperate on security. This policy brief assesses the state of play in global democratic cooperation and suggests how it might be best developed after this second summit. The strategic need for security coordination amongst democracies remains strong but its form must be rethought if it is to endure.
“This report explores what has happened to immigration, immigration policy and public attitudes towards immigration since the Brexit vote. It examines the way in which the UK government has reacted to the ending of free movement, and explores the impact of new policies on immigration levels.”
Analysis by the Cato Institute indicates that the net fiscal impact of immigrants to the US is more positive than that of native-born Americans, and that immigrants have a positive net fiscal impact for the federal and state/local governments. Immigrants who arrive in the US at age 25 and did not complete high school have a net fiscal impact of +$216,000 in net present value terms, compared to a corresponding net fiscal impact of -$32,000 among native-born Americans who did not complete high school.
This article makes the case the likely result of this legislation is a growing number of people in the UK either destitute, in irregular work, or accommodated by the state, or some combination of all three. Essentially, that it will fail in its aim to stop boats and reduce illegal immigration.
Biden's Border Immigration Policy Is Still Reducing Border Crossings and Illegal Immigration – Cato Institute (USA)
From December 2022 to February 2023, encounters of migrants crossing the southwest border with Mexico have fallen 39%. Cato credits President Biden’s border plan which has expanded legal migration to the US through humanitarian parole, under which up to 30,000 migrants from Venezuela, Cuba, Nicaragua and Haiti are allowed to enter the United States legally every month. This has resulted in migrants from those countries waiting to enter legally rather than attempting to cross illegally. This, the article argues, supports Cato’s theory that legal migration options discourage illegal immigration.
This report asserts that, theoretically, global decarbonisation is the best way to limit climate change and its consequences, including for migration. In practice, however, some climate change is already locked in and global decarbonisation cannot be achieved through UK national policy alone. It calls the Government to develop a response to protect the integrity of the UK border while also building resilience abroad in countries that are most vulnerable to climate change.
Carnegie Middle East examines the increase in illegal migration from Tunisia into the EU by way of Serbia between 2020 and 2022. Serbia provided a safer, less monitored route into Western Europe than the Mediterranean Sea, smuggling networks helped organise passage for many Tunisians from Serbia into Hungary, and Belgrade turned a blind eye, using Tunisian migrants as leverage in its ambition to obtain EU membership and only ending visa-free entry for Tunisian nationals in November 2022. Carnegie recommends a ‘strategic horizon’ to countries in its neighbourhood, based on ‘shared prosperity aimed at reducing illegal migration’. Without such a common system, the EU will remain vulnerable to pressure from non-countries on its border.
AI regulation in the United States is still in its infancy. However, a number of states, including California, Connecticut, Illinois and Texas, are beginning to tackle AI regulation, which raises questions about how these laws should be designed and implemented.
Artificial intelligence adoption in the public sector: a case study – Bruegel (Europe)
A working paper exploring the drivers and barriers to artificial intelligence adoption by the public sector. The authors argue that several factors are pivotal to ensure AI is adopted seamlessly: a fast discovery phase and subsidy support mechanisms. The paper also concludes that successful human-centred roll out of AI will depend, too, on availability of, and investment in, “complementary intangible organisational capital”.
This report asserts that a tax relief at the basic rate be extended to season tickets and passes, saving commuters who travel by bus and train hundreds of pounds a year. This would match tax relief measures for buying bicycles or low-emission cars already in place.
Australia’s light duty vehicle fleet is among the least fuel efficient in the world, using 24% more fuel per kilometre travelled than the UK. If the UK’s modest standards could be met here, Australian drivers would save $13 billion a year in fuel costs and overall transport emissions would be 17% lower.
The passage of the Inflation Reduction Act (IRA) will accelerate the US energy transition and deliver a boost to the green power sector. Permitting reforms and the construction of transmission infrastructure, however, are central to any success. CSIS calls for a compromise over natural gas infrastructure which will acknowledge its critical role in the energy system while still meeting decarbonisation aspirations.
Europe needs both fiscal and energy solidarity – Centre for European Reform (Europe)
This report argues that EU governments should curb energy subsidies and raise support for clean energy investment. The EU should expand common borrowing to fund green investment in order to accelerate the clean energy transition.
“The health of millions stands to be harmed by climate change in the coming decades, but national governments and international organizations remain woefully underprepared. Elizabeth Willetts and Andy Haines suggest a path forward to bolster responsiveness and resilience.”
How much will the EU pay Russia for fossil fuels over the next 12 months? – Bruegel (Europe)
This article looks at how much the EU is paying Russia for fossil fuels and projections on how much more they will pay in the coming year. Although sanctions and a reduction in reliance on Russian energy have significantly lowered the EU’s demand for Russian fossil fuels, this article shows that the EU is far from independent of Russian gas and, indeed, will continue to pay around €30 billion to Moscow over the coming year.
“Hydrogen is projected to play an important role in meeting decarbonization targets. Hydrocarbon-rich countries perceive this as an opportunity to decarbonize existing assets and monetize undeveloped hydrocarbon reserves. Meanwhile, non-traditional energy exporters rich in renewable energy resources view hydrogen as an opportunity to improve grid stability and a means to export surplus electricity.”
The Atlantic Council explores liquid hydrogen as a promising, low-carbon alternative to conventional jet fuel, and what must be done in the avian industry before it can begin to transition to hydrogen. This includes designing hydrogen-capable planes; expanding hydrogen-fuel infrastructure; and developing additional hydrogen uses, such as long-haul trucking.
“Cutting methane emissions from oil and gas production can help slow the pace of global warming. This brief summarizes emerging U.S. regulations on methane emissions, outlines the pathway for EU methane legislation, and analyzes potential alignment.”
This paper’s authors seek to set out the economic implications of last year’s Inflation Reduction Act. They estimate that, given the Act’s scope and its ambition to transform the entire US energy sector, the cost of legislation could be as much as $1tn, considerably higher than government estimates.
“Today’s ethical consumers are extremely worried about climate change, especially after the deadly Covid-19 pandemic triggered an international energy crisis and caused an overall energy price cap. As a consequence of the current climate crisis, these consumers are reluctant to invest in companies associated with fossil fuels. Consequently, some progressive firms have decided to sell ‘environment friendly’ products and focus on environmental, social, and corporate governance (ESG). Yet, it is clear that embracing ESG is about more than just including a note on the price tag saying the product is “100% sustainable.” It is important to identify what ESG actually is and to explore whether it is enough to combat the problem of corporate ‘greenwashing,’ when companies exaggerate their green credentials for marketing purposes.”
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