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North/South divide in 15 best and worst Local Authority schools, finds think tank

14 of the 15 worst performing Local Authority schools examined against the ‘Progress 8’ measure are in the North of England. Whilst 14 of the 15 best performing schools against the same measure are in London, according to analysis by the Reform think tank.

Commenting, Dr Luke Heselwood, Reform education lead, said:

“This North/South divide among the 15 best and worst performing Local Authority schools, gives a glimpse of the opportunity differential up and down the country.

“If the Government wants to bolster the attainment of poor performing students, the money promised to schools over the next three years must be targeted at the most disadvantaged, where it is needed most. Boosting cash incentives for the best teachers who move to the worst performing schools is also a must.

“Acting now will mean that more children get the best possible education and start in life.”

The Telegraph

The Telegraph, 16 October 2019

Ahead of our Reform's Women's Network dinner with Rt Hon Nicky Morgan MP, Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, on the topic of 'Making technology work for everyone', Reform was featured in this article discussing Nicky Morgan's address on gender bias in technology and devices. 

Read here.

Reform logo

CQC report confirms that A&E services have hit a brick wall, says think tank

Commenting on the Care Quality Commission’s annual report showing that 52 per cent of urgent and emergency care services are rated inadequate or requiring improvement, Reform think tank Health policy lead, Claudia Martinez, said:

“Services have hit a brick wall due to the relentless pressure being placed on them by our broken primary care system.”

“A major driver of demand is those who’ve reached crisis point due to a lack of care in the community, leaving no choice but emergency services. Last year, for example, 38 per cent of patients who needed a same day GP appointment were unable to get one.

“We need urgent reform to bolster primary care and keep people out of hospital, which will relieve the unrelenting pressure facing emergency services. Otherwise those in need will continue to miss out on the standard of care they deserve.”


Primary care reform will end carousel of NHS crises, says Reform think tank

Commenting on new data published today by NHS Digital showing A&E attendances, waiting times and readmittances have all increased compared to the same time last year, Reform think tank Health policy lead, Claudia Martinez, said:

“Today’s performance data confirms again that the NHS is stuck on a carousel of crises.

“To cut A&E attendance, patients need to be able to access out of hours GP provision. Just 13% of people think they can make a GP appointment after 6.30pm, and nine in ten do not think Saturday appointments are available to them.

“Instead of fixating on building shiny new hospitals, the Government should be investing in primary care. The cost of this failure will likely be another winter of crisis.”

City AM

CITY AM, 10 October 2019

Imogen Farhan, Researcher at Reform, was published in a debate piece in City AM on whether winter fuel allowance should be means-tested. 

Read here.


Take winter fuel allowance from rich pensioners, urges think tank

All Parties should commit to means-testing the Winter Fuel Allowance at the next general election, says the Reform think tank.

Analysis of figures published today by the Department for Work and Pensions show that last year 11.57 million pensioners received between £100 - £300 to help heat their homes, at a cost of almost £2 billion.

However, the think tank argues that this is unfair with fewer than 10 per cent of over-60s households in fuel poverty.

26 per cent of single-parent households, in comparison, are unable to heat their homes.

Tenants in the private sector are at the highest risk of fuel poverty, with 19.4% unable to heat their homes. Less than 4% of over 65s live in the private rental sector.

The think tank is calling for the Winter Fuel Allowance to be means-tested. This would mean that the poorest pensioners would continue to receive this vital benefit, while enabling the savings to be reinvested in cash-strapped public services.

Commenting, Reform Researcher, Imogen Farhan, said:

“Party’s must set aside concerns about the ‘Grey Vote’ and reform this overly-generous benefit.

“It is vital that those struggling to heat their homes receive support, but handing out cash to wealthy pensioners is a waste of taxpayers’ money.

“Means-testing the Winter Fuel Allowance would enable much need public funds to be redirected to those in greatest need.

"With working families struggling to make ends meet, politicians should take this opportunity to create a more generationally fair system.”

Public Technology

Public Technology, 4 October 2019

Eleonora Harwich, Director of Research and Head of Tech Innovation at Reform was featured in Public Technology in an article on AI and the law. 

Read here.

City AM

City AM, 2 October 2019

Dr Luke Heselwood, Senior Researcher at Reform's Letter to the Editor was featured in City AM. The letter covered homelessness death numbers released by the Office for National Statistics.

Read it here

Today programme

BBC Radio 4 Today, 1 Oct 2019

Charlotte Pickles, Director of Reform, spoke to the Today programme about the Government’s tough on crime announcements, from the Conservative Party Conference.

Listen from 1.18 here.

The Times logo

Tragic rise in deaths of homeless shows Government policies are failing, says think tank 

Commenting on statistics from the ONS showing the highest year-to-year increase in deaths of homeless people, Dr Luke Heselwood, Senior Reform Researcher, said:

“These tragic figures show that the Government’s policies to tackle homelessness are failing.

“One year on from the flagship Homelessness Reduction Act and the Rough Sleeping Strategy, which were meant to bolster efforts to prevent homelessness, the number of people dying on our streets should not be on the rise.

“Short-term, hand-to-mouth funding for local services has inhibited councils' efforts to implement this legislation and prevent those at risk from becoming homeless. Long-term sustainable funding for these services is a must to reverse this terrible trend.” 

Featured in The Times, The Independent, The Daily Mail and LocalGov.

Charlie Politics Live

Politics Live, 27 September 2019

Charlotte Pickles, Director of Reform, appeared on Politics Live to discuss the latest policy news.

Watch it back here.

Public Technology

Public Technology, 13 September 2019

Eleonora Harwich, Director of Research and Head of Tech Innovation at Reform was featured in Public Technology in an article on bias in data and AI systems. 

Read it here.


Labour's welfare pledges hugely concerning, warns think tank

Commenting on Jeremy Corbyn's welfare reform pledges, Reform think tank Director and former Expert Advisor to the Rt Hon Ian Duncan-Smith MP, Charlotte Pickles, said: 

"Jeremy Corbyn’s welfare pledges will cost billions and undermine the fundamental principle of a ‘something for something’ welfare state. 

"There is no doubt that some benefits should be more generous to ensure people get the support they need, but the public expect the welfare system to have basic checks and balances. They also expect those who can work do so. Ending all sanctions and scrapping the Work Capability Assessment undermines this.

"A ‘something for nothing’ welfare state not only alienates taxpayers, but also traps claimants on benefits. Labour should think again." 

Covered by various outlets. 


Reform think tank reaction to the Shadow Chancellor, John McDonnell MP’s, Labour Party Conference speech

On the Shadow Chancellor’s confirmation that Labour will end Universal Credit, Charlotte Pickles, Director of Reform think tank, said:

“Scrapping Universal Credit is a regressive step.

“Labour’s stance would waste the £2 billion so far spent on setting up the benefit. And yet another complicated redesign would create further instability for claimants.

“Universal Credit needs reform, but just like abolishing Ofsted or renationalising all local public services, it’s an ideological stunt not a serious attempt to improve lives.”

On Labour’s free personal care plan, Reform health lead, Claudia Martinez, said:

"Labour’s free personal care plan is not a sustainable solution to our social care crisis.

“The Shadow Chancellor contradicted himself by claiming ‘fair taxation’ will fund his proposals. Younger taxpayers, many of whom are struggling to make ends meet, are being asked to fund the care of wealthier pensioners. That is anything but fair.

“Our social care system does need more funding. But this should come from an insurance-based system where people save to fund their future care costs.”


SheCanCode, 19 September 2019

Eleonora Harwich, Director of Research and Head of Tech Innovation at Reform was featured in SheCanCode's blog post about pursuing a career in tech. 

Read here.