Think Tanks


2 Jan 2013 07:04:35

Cut aid says new Civitas paper and put money into defence and BBC World Service budgets

By Tim Montgomerie
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A new paper published by the Civitas think tank recommends a sharp change of direction in UK aid policy.

The paper written by Jonathan Foreman - a freelance journalist - makes the following five key recommendations:

  1. One-third of Britain's aid budget should be diverted over the next few years from development spending and go to expand Britain's defence capabilities and also the reach of the BBC's World Service.
    • By choosing not to hit the 0.7% target Mr Foreman argues £3bn could be added to the MoD's budget and be used to develop dual use road, air and sea equipment that could both serve military and emergency humanitarian purposes.
    • Foreman also says that part of the money should be used to fund all of the BBC World Service's foreign language services (at a cost of about £250m). The House of Commons' Foreign Affairs Select Committee has made similar recommendations in the past.
  2. A Royal Commission on aid that would examine the purpose and effectiveness of Britain's development budget.
  3. Reverse Tony Blair's 1997 decision to establish the Department for International Development and re-integrate DfID into the Foreign Office.
  4. Recruitment of forensic investigators from the Serious Fraud Office to investigate abuses of British aid by foreign governments.
  5. Cut Britain's contributions to wasteful multilateral organisations such as the EU where aid monies do not go to the world's poorest people but often to nations of political importance to France and Germany.

Continue reading "Cut aid says new Civitas paper and put money into defence and BBC World Service budgets" »

18 Jun 2010 00:00:23

Ten facts about the rich public sector and the poor private sector

What's the biggest divide in Britain?

The divide between north and south? Between black and white? Between the children of intact families and those of broken families? Or, as David Willetts has begun to argue, between young and old? All are testing divisions but one of the most politically potent divisions of our time is the divide between private and public sector workers.

DM180610j The divide is described as the "Great Jobs Apartheid" on the front page of today's Daily Mail.

The Mail is inspired by new research by Policy Exchange. Here are ten of PX's top findings:

  1. On an hourly basis, the typical public sector worker is now 30% better paid than the typical worker in the private sector.
  2. This pay advantage is not evenly distributed.  It is higher in lower grades, with the bottom 10% of public sector workers now 25% better paid than their private sector equivalents.
  3. The public sector wage premium is small in the South East and London, but  higher in Scotland Wales the North east and North west, where public sector workers enjoy a 17-20% premium.
  4. Over their lifetimes, people in the private sector work 23% more hours (equivalent to 9.2 years of a public sector employee’s working life) – where their public sector counterpart will either be on sick leave, holiday, strike or in retirement.
  5. Since 2002 the public sector wage bill has increased three times faster than the private sector wage bill, growing by 33% in real terms, or £67 billion.
  6. A remarkable net 97.7% of the increase in numbers of public sector workers has been in education and the NHS.
  7. The number of management positions has increased particularly rapidly in recent years - by over 80% between 2002 and 2009.
  8. Between 1997 and 2007, public sector productivity also fell, while productivity in the private sector increased by nearly 28% - leaving the former only two-thirds as productive as the latter.
  9. Over the last decade the redundancy rate in manufacturing or construction has been seven times higher than in the public sector, roughly defined. During the recession these multiples increased to 16 and 10 times respectively.
  10. Public sector employees have better pensions.  The difference is worth an extra 15% of their salary.

Screen shot 2010-06-17 at 23.51.04 Coincidentally, the Adam Smith Institute today calls for 270,000 public sector job cuts over the next five years. The report, by Tim Ambler of London Business School, proposes to protect so-called frontline staff (teachers, nurses, doctors, police officers and active armed forces personnel) but for 100,000 job cuts at the Ministry of Defence and another 50,000 job cuts at Iain Duncan Smith's Department of Work & Pensions.

Dr Eamonn Butler of the ASI commented:

“These numbers sound radical, but it is worth remembering that more than a million new public sector jobs have been created since 1997. And as for political feasibility, the Conservatives actually proposed to abolish 235,000 bureaucratic jobs in their 2005 election manifesto. Now that the public finances are in such dire straits, this must be firmly back on the agenda.”

31 Oct 2009 15:34:00

Adam Holloway MP calls for new thinking on Afghanistan


"In Blood Stepp'd in Too Far - Towards a Realistic Policy for Afghanistan" (PDF)

Author: Adam Holloway MP

Publication date: 31 October 2009

The author argues that the NATO presence in Afghanistan is not supported by a majority of Afghans and is making attacks on the UK by Al Qaeda more likely not less. The paper calls for a smaller NATO force committed to supporting tribal structures, forging a spirit of reconciliation and addressing the regional tensions between India and Pakistan.

23 Mar 2009 14:58:00

A fairer share of the burden in Afghanistan

Henry Jackson

"The NATO Alliance in Afghanistan - A Fair Share of the Burden?" (PDF)

Author: Peter Cannon

Publication date: 23 March 2009

This report calls for NATO countries other than the UK and the US to take more of the burden for fighting the Taliban. The author believes the over-reliance on UK and US forces in Afghanistan is endangering the outcome of the mission and the long term stability of NATO.

15 Feb 2009 16:34:00

An anti-Western alliance

Henry Jackson

"The Emergence of an Anti-Western Alliance - Implications and Prescriptions for Western Security Strategy"(PDF)

Author: James Coady

Publication date: 15 February 2009

The report focuses on an emerging alliance of governments who share a distinctly anti-Western ideology and the potential grave threat this poses to the West. The report acknowledges the increased co-operation between Russia and left-wing governments in Venezuela and Bolivia along with Moscow's support for anti-Western regimes in Iran and Syria. The anti-Western alliance also extends to China which is making greater strategic engagement in South America and Africa. This report is concerning for all of us who share Western values.