The Week

The Week, 8 November 2019

Reactionaries of the Week

The Chancellor, Sajid Javid MP, and Shadow Chancellor, John McDonnell MP, for entering a pre-election ‘public spending bidding war.’

Both parties have scrapped their respective fiscal rules and promised to significantly raise government borrowing in order to fund investment in infrastructure.

Quotes of the Week

“There was supposed to be a budget but it was cancelled. There was supposed to be a long-term spending review from the government but it was cancelled…The Office for Budget Responsibility was supposed to update us on the state of the public finances yesterday but that too was cancelled. We have, in short, been left far more ignorant than we usually are about the state of the economy.”

Ed Conway, Economics Editor, Sky News, on Friday

“Debt cannot go on rising forever, and debt incurred simply to pay for current spending is not going to offer a return to future generations to cover the increased burden on them.”

The Institute for Fiscal Studies, on Wednesday

Good Week for

Uprating benefits

On Sunday, the Government confirmed that the benefit freeze, which has seen working-age benefits fall relative to the cost of living since 2015, will end as planned in April 2020. Raising working-age benefits by inflation is welcome, but will not offset the impact of the five-year policy.

Shining a light on public priorities 

YouGov polling on Thursday revealed that the public are increasing concerned about crime and the environment compared to the last election. Next Tuesday, Reform will be holding a panel event with Sir John Curtice on ‘How to win a General Election.’ 

Bad Week for

The housing crisis

 A UK government scheme to build 200,000 affordable homes and sell them at a discount to young first-time buyers has failed to deliver any houses because the necessary legislation has not been enacted, according to the National Audit Office.

Government advertising

DWP’s adverts promoting Universal Credit have been banned.  Among other issues, the Advertising Standards Authority found that the claim that “people move into work faster on Universal Credit” did not accurately reflect the evidence.

Reform’s week

On Monday, Charlotte Pickles, Director of Reform, spoke on BBC News about the politicisation of the NHS during the 2019 General Election.

Also on Monday, Reform announced its flagship General Election debate with Sir John Curtice, Professor of Politics at the University of Strathclyde, Ben Page, Chief Executive of Ipsos MORI, and Pippa Crerar, Political Editor at the Daily Mirror.

Also on Monday, Reform published a new fact sheet on the Government’s Land Disposal Strategy on our public spending microsite.