The Week

The Week, 15 November 2019

Reformer of the week

UNISON for advocating on Thursday for a more comprehensive approach to skills and training for public service workers, in order to meet the challenges of the changing workplace and overcome future problems.


“How did we get into this bidding war between fiscal populists of left and right? We should end austerity, but we should do it responsibly.”

In The Times Red Box on Monday, Tony Blair, former Prime Minister, criticised the spending promises being made by both Labour and the Conservatives. On Tuesday, Labour announced it would outspend the Conservatives on the NHS.


"[HS2 Ltd] is carrying most of the risk and all of the pain with little gain [for] only relatively modest reductions in price."

In an early draft of the HS2 review leaked on Tuesday, Doug Oakervee, former Chair of HS2, highlighted the project’s poor approach to contracting as having increased costs whilst failing to reduce the risk of a Carillion-like supplier collapse.

Good week for

House Building

Statistics out on Friday revealed that 241,300 new homes, the highest for three decades, had been built or converted in the past year. Yet the figure still falls well short of the government target of 300,000 per year and there are questions over the type and location of homes that have yet to be answered.

Lifelong Learning

On Tuesday, the Labour Party announced plans to provide six years of free lifelong education as part of its National Education Service, in order to address the skills shortage in the UK.

Bad week for

Hospital waiting lists

On Thursday, NHS statistics revealed an unprecedented number of patients on hospital waiting lists in England and A&E delays at the highest level since records began.


The Trussell Trust revealed on Wednesday that there has been a 23 per cent increase in the number of food parcels distributed between April and September, compared to the same period last year.

Reform's week

On Monday, Charlotte Pickles, Director of Reform, took part in LBC’s Cross Question debate with Iain Dale.

On Friday, Reform published Access for All? The Participation of Disadvantaged Students at Elite Universities which assesses the progress made by elite universities in their efforts to improve access for disadvantaged students. The report found a concerning lack of overall improvement for 29 elite universities over the last five years. It was covered in The Times.