The Week

The Week, 21 July 2017

This week HMRC ruled that care providers should compensate workers who slept at their patients’ house by six years’ worth of back pay. The move is a step forward in compensating social care workers more fairly, but will also put a huge strain on care providers. The Government’s own thinking on a long-term solution to social care funding is long overdue.

Danail Vasilev, Researcher

Reformer of the week

Jo Johnson MP, Minister for Universities, for announcing a maintenance support package for part-time students in higher education. This was announced at a speech hosted by Reform. The policy is likely to have a positive impact on social mobility as well as give opportunities for older students to requalify.

Reactionary of the week

HM Government for failing to produce a long-term plan for the future of social care, as above.

Good week for…

The global labour market for doctors

On Monday the NHS announced plans to recruit 2,000 GPs from abroad.

Infrastructure investment

On Monday, the contractors for the first phase of the construction of HS2 were announced. The news came after the IFS reported that over the next five years, public investment spending will be protected relative to day-to-day spending.

Income equality

On Wednesday, the IFS reported that income inequality in the UK has fallen since the recession. This is in part driven by rising employment, but also falling incomes in the middle and top of the earning distribution.

Bad week for…

Prison safety in England and Wales

On Wednesday, the Chief Inspector of Prisons reported that conditions in adult prisons in England and Wales had continued to worsen.

Workers reaching retirement

On Wednesday, Rt Hon David Gauke MP, Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, announced that the state pension age will be increased ahead of schedule. This means that those currently between the ages of 39 and 37 will have to wait an additional three years before getting their state pension.


On Wednesday, the Crime Survey showed a 7 per cent decrease in crime rates. Police recorded crime rose by 10 per cent.

Quotes of the week

“The decline in nursing applications has also caused alarm. We need to remember that our old funding model for nursing education, which asked the health department to fund these degrees from its budget, was failing to provide the NHS with the nurses it needs. With arbitrary limits on numbers, it choked off supply of nurses to the NHS, denying thousands a shot at this rewarding career. In 2014 alone, we turned away 37,000 applicants to nurse training places, even though the NHS needed a great number of them. Under the new system, universities will now be able to offer up to 10,000 more nursing, midwifery and allied health professional (AHP) training places over this parliament.”

Jo Johnson MP, at a Reform speech on Thursday.

“Since 1948 the State Pension has been an important part of society, providing financial security to all in later life. As life expectancy continues to rise and the number of people in receipt of State Pension increases, we need to ensure that we have a fair and sustainable system that is reflective of modern life and protected for future generations.”

David Gauke MP, writing in the State Pension age review.

“At the heart of our work is the inspection of adult prisons, which hold more than 81,000 men and nearly 4,000 women. Last year I reported that too many of our prisons had become unacceptably violent and dangerous places. The situation has not improved—in fact, it has become worse.”

Peter Clarke, HM Inspector of Prisons, reporting on Wednesday.

Reform’s Week


On MondayReform held a roundtable on HMRC’s digitisation and modernisation strategy led by Jon Thompson, Permanent Secretary at HMRC.

On WednesdayReform held a roundtable exploring the opportunities for digital borders led by Rt Hon Brandon Lewis MP, Minister of State for Immigration.

On WednesdayReform was delighted to convene a private policy dinner on new priorities for education reform led by Lord Nash, Parliamentary Under Secretary of State for the School System.

On ThursdayReform was delighted to host Jo Johnson MP, who gave a speech on his vision of a higher education sector that delivers real value for money for students.


On Tuesday, Reform’s launch of Gainful gigging: employment services for the platform economy. The paper calls for greater flexibility in employment services so jobseekers can be supported into the gig economy where appropriate. The paper was covered by several news outlets, including: Public FinanceWorkplace InsightCity A.M.CIPD and The Times.

Ben Dobson, Researcher at Reform, wrote an opinion piece for Public Finance and a Reformer Blog.

Other Media

The Reform speech by Jo Johnson was covered by a number of media outlets including Daily MailPolitics HomeFE NewsThe TimesBBC News and Times Higher Education.