Over the last two decades the UK has experienced substantial net immigration, sparking a fierce political debate over the perceived economic and social costs and benefits. The outgoing Labour government responded to rising concerns by creating a 'points based migration system' (PBS) for selecting non-EU economic migrants. The system was designed to admit only those perceived as economically beneficial to the UK economy.
This report examines the operation of the PBS to date. It explores the likely impact of successive government reforms - most recently the migration cap introduced by the Coalition government. It concludes by outlining a number of ways in which the government could restore flexibility to the system and ensure it continues to attract the 'best and the brightest'.
Download the full report.
Making ends meet: challenges for the 2010 Strategic Defence and Security Review for the United Kingdom
In recent years, a worrying gap has emerged between the military ambitions of the UK armed forces, and the financial resources allocated to them. The gap is likely to widen further in the coming years as the coalition government starts to cut public spending to eliminate the government budget deficit.
This is the context for the 2010 Strategic Defence and Security Review (SDSR), charged with making recommendations about the UK's future role in world affairs and about the financial resources which that role would require. In practice the SDSR must try to reduce the defence budget without incurring an unacceptable increase in the risks to national security.
In 'Making ends meet', Professor David Kirkpatrick explains the many particular problems of defence management, and emphasises that the SDSR's recommendations for UK defence policy, military capabilities and defence expenditure must be completely coherent and consistent (unlike those in the 1998 review). He suggests how the UK defence budget might be reduced by 10 per cent, in addition to savings from internal reforms and reorganisation, without the irreversible loss of any of the UK's present military and industrial capabilities.
Download the full report.
‘Quantitative easing’ was meant to boost private spending by pumping billions of pounds into the economy. But CentreForum argues that it has done little for ordinary people and businesses. Without serious reform, it will prove powerless in the face of a second dip into recession.
In early 2009, with interest rates at 0.5 per cent and the deficit hitting record levels, ‘QE’ was the only policy left for fighting the recession. By trying to increase the money supply directly, the Bank of England aimed to increase bank lending, lift up asset prices and restore confidence. In many ways it worked. Banks that were almost insolvent are now recording large profits, the equity market has soared, and house prices have reversed a frightening decline. It has clearly helped the government to issue a huge amount of debt relatively cheaply.
But while the policy may have prevented financial collapse, it has done little to make life easier for small companies and households. Now, with the real possibility of a second dip into recession, CentreForum argue that QE needs urgently to be redirected towards the thousands of firms up and down the country for whom the ‘credit crunch’ is an ongoing problem.