The Work Programme: keep calm and carry on

Chris Nicholson
February 2012

In this short research note CentreForum urges the government to stand firm on its flagship scheme to get unemployed people back into work.

Since its launch in June 2011 the Work Programme has faced considerable criticism; most recently from the National Audit Office which said that the government had over estimated the likely performance of the scheme.

CentreForum acknowledges that in certain areas of the Work Programme a different approach would have been beneficial. But its report warns that changing course would undermine efforts to tackle long term unemployment, and threaten future government contracting for services.

Download the full report.

Tier 4 tears: how government student visa controls are destroying the private HE sector

Chris Nicholson
January 2012

In this report, CentreForum calls for the reversal of student visa controls which prohibit international students enrolled on HE courses at private colleges from working part time to support their studies.

Since these controls were introduced in 2011, enrolment numbers are estimated to have dropped by around 70 percent. One private institution, Cavendish College London, has already closed, while others face being taken over by public universities.

CentreForum had previously warned government about the adverse impact of the Tier 4 student visa reforms. It is now concerned that the impact has been "swift and probably even more devastating than was predicted."

Download the full report.

Click here to view policy impact timeline.

See earlier CentreForum publications 'Tier 4 Fears: why government student visa proposals are unfair' (June 2011) and 'Pathway to prosperity: how to make student immigration work for universities and the economy' (February 2011)

London schooling: lessons from the capital

Gill Wyness
December 2011

The report 'London schooling: lessons from the capital' measures the academic attainment of pupils with similar characteristics (the same income background, ethnicity, language and gender) across London and the rest of England.

It concludes that London's pupils are achieving better-than-expected results at most ages and levels of attainment. That is, pupils in the capital at Key Stage 1 (ages 5-7) are performing no better or worse than those in other regions of England, but then start to pull away from their non-London counterparts at Key Stage 2 (7-11), with the results gap remaining at Key Stage 4 (14-16).

Download the full report.

Click here to view table showing pupil performance by English local authority.

"This study underlines an argument we have been consistently making. Deprivation need not be destiny. There are some superb state schools in disadvantaged areas generating fantastic results, such as Mossbourne Academy in Hackney or Burlington Danes in Hammersmith."

- Rt Hon Michael Gove MP, Secretary of State for Education

Employee empowerment: towards greater workplace democracy

Patrick Briône and Chris Nicholson
January 2012

There is strong evidence that giving employees more of a voice in the firm that employs them is of benefit to both the firm and the employees. Just as important is the democratic case: employees have a fundamental right to be involved in key decisions that affect their lives.

Boosting employee participation should therefore be an integral part of the coalition's growth strategy of supply-side reforms.

In this report, CentreForum sets out a package of measures that the government should consider to promote employee empowerment and workplace democracy.

Download the full report.

"Increased employee participation in how companies are run has been a longstanding Liberal Democrat principle, and CentreForum offers some radical proposals for how this can be promoted. Their paper deserves serious consideration."

- Rt Hon Nick Clegg MP, Deputy Prime Minister

"There is strong evidence that the combination of employee empowerment and employee share ownership can help boost company performance. The CentreForum paper makes a powerful case for why this should be embraced as part of the coalition government's growth strategy of long term suppy-side reforms."

- Ed Davey MP, Minister of State for Employment Relations, Consumer and Postal Affairs

Community land auctions: moving towards implementation

Tim Leunig
November 2011

In Budget 2011, George Osborne announced that the government will be piloting Community Land Auctions, an idea first put forward by Tim Leunig in 2007.

The report 'Community land auctions: working towards implementation' sets out this idea in more detail. It uses real figures from developers to show that in the south east, where housing is most needed, Community Land Auctions would raise at least £45,000 per house for the community that allowed them to be built.

CentreForum believes that this step-change in incentives will persuade people to back more housing in their area, rather than oppose it.

Download the full report.

"Land auctions are a radical way to change the community's incentives toward accepting development. It's time to test their practical value."

- Kate Barker, Chair of the UK Government Barker Review of Housing Supply

"Tim Leunig’s proposals would be a major step forward to solving land supply problems and give the community a real incentive to welcome development"

- Sir Stuart Lipton, Deputy chairman of Chelsfield Partners LLP and founding chairman of the Commission for Architecture and the Built Environment (CABE)

"Innovative and essential"

- Martin Wolf CBE, chief economics commentator, FT

"The economics are clear that Britain needs more houses, but reforms to the planning system have been consistently blocked by politics. Tim Leunig’s proposals show how to cut the Gordian knot."

- Professor John van Reenan, London School of Economics

"In real terms the Swiss have had stable house prices for 40 years; Swiss local authorities get real tax incentives to encourage them to allow building. The Swiss also have a strong economy. Tim Leunig’s highly original but simple idea could inject real incentives into house building in Britain. Maybe our economy could become more Swiss!"

- Professor Paul Cheshire, London School of Economics

"Were it not for arbitrary planning constraints, Britain would get the house building it desperately needs. Tim Leunig’s pathbreaking work shows how to remove the planning logjam without providing unearned windfall profits for existing landowners."

- Chris Giles, Economics Editor, FT

"Tim Leunig makes a compelling case that Community Land Auctions are both desirable and feasible"

- Professor Paul Klemperer, leading UK auctions expert, Oxford University

"The best idea for growth"

- Sir Samuel Brittan, economic commentator, FT

"Tim Leunig’s analysis is typically excellent. He has played a key role in highlighting current planning failure."

- Alex Morton, Policy Exchange

"The significance of this proposal is that it creates a mechanism for capturing the rises in land value that come with the granting of planning permission. As such it is a very valuable contribution to the housing debate."

- Anna Minton, author 'Ground Control'

"In the UK, all methods of expressing economic preferences on land-use planning issues are completely excluded by our planning system. This has disastrous results from the point of view of those who cannot afford housing and unsatisfactory results from the point of view of preserving environmental amenities. This proposal is an important attempt to rectify this long-standing defect."

- Professor Philip Booth, IEA

"A major step forward in making us a better housed nation"

- Professor Stephen Nickell, Office of Budget Responsibility and former head of the National House Planning Advisory Unit

"Britain’s housing shortage clearly needs some radical solutions. Dr Tim Leunig always argues his case very powerfully, and in this instance makes innovative and challenging proposals about how the problem could be solved."

- Trudi Elliott CBE, Chief Executive of the Royal Town Planning Institute

"Community land auctions offer a promising alternative, capturing for the local community value created through the planning system."

- Andy Hull, Senior Research Fellow, IPPR