The Week

The Week, 23 August 2019

Reformer of the week

The Rt Hon Sajid Javid MP, Chancellor of the Exchequer, for announcing on Saturday that more than £600m of new infrastructure spending would be made available to ensure that 50,000 new homes will be supported by effective road and rail links, schools, and other infrastructure necessities.

Quotes of the week

“I want to see more homes built in the places people want to live […] but we need the roads, rail links, and schools to support the families living in those homes.”

The Rt Hon Sajid Javid MP, Chancellor of the Exchequer, announcing on Saturday £600m of infrastructure spending to support new home building. 

"Planning for the impacts of our changing population now will pay dividends later. Increasing the state retirement age would be a welcome first step."

The Times' leading article for Tuesday on recent proposals by Iain Duncan Smith to increase the state pension threshold to 75 to help tackle the demographic shift.

Good week for

Technical Qualifications

University admissions service UCAS announced on Tuesday that the top grade in the new T-level qualifications will be equivalent to three A*s at A-level for those wanting to progress to do a degree. Luke Heselwood, Senior Researcher at Reform, recently wrote in the Times Education Supplement about the need for greater parity between T-levels and A-levels.

Hospital Meals

The Government announced on Friday that Bake Off judge Prue Leith will act as an adviser for a review of hospital food aiming to set new quality standards for the 140 million meals served annually by the NHS, after complaints that millions of pounds is squandered each year on “unpalatable” food.

Bad week for

Child Homelessness

A report released this week by the Children’s Commissioner for England revealed that an estimated 210,000 children in England are homeless, and criticised temporary accommodation offered by local authorities, including converted office blocks and shipping containers, due to a lack of council housing.


On Tuesday the Government announced a review into the over-budget and behind schedule HS2 rail link scheme, led by Douglas Oakervee. On Thursday it was revealed that Boris Johnson is considering bringing forward the second phase of construction linking northern cities as he deems it a higher priority for balancing the UK’s north-south divide.

Reform 's Week

On Thursday, Charlotte Pickles, Director of Reform, commented on the results of the “10 prisons” pilot project which showed a decrease in violence and positive drug tests, calling for “smart, targeted investment” to reduce prison violence. She was quoted in The Financial Times, The Nottingham Post, and The Big Issue.
On Friday, an interview with Charlotte was published in Public Finance, in which she set out her objectives for Reform and explained what she saw as the biggest policy challenges for the UK, including justice, social care, and the Spending Review.

On Friday last week, Aidan Shilson-Thomas, Researcher at Reform, outlined in a piece for Public Finance why the Prime Minister should focus on re-offending and scrap short-sentences to cut down on crime.