Reflections – purely personal – on the family life of politicians

Yesterday the All-Party Parliamentary Group on Women in Parliament, made up of a backbench group of MPs chaired by the Conservative Mary Macleod MP, published a report entitled Improving Parliament: Creating a More Representative House. As a former MP who stepped down for family reasons I had given evidence to the committee in private earlier in the year. Today, on the day that David Cameron champions a reshuffle designed to bring more women into the Cabinet, I published a personal piece in the Daily Telegraph with some reflections on politicians and family life.

Venturing forth: increasing high value entrepreneurship

Today sees the publication of a research report by the Social Market Foundation think-tank that I jointly authored with the SMF’s chief economist, Nida Broughton. The culmination of two years work, it argues that there is a latent supply of entrepreneurs in Britain that could potentially have significant economic impact if they are supported to make the transition out of traditional employment. Based on original new research with potential entrepreneurs it argues that government should reform employment laws to enable people to try out new business ideas whilst still retaining links with their former employers in case they need to return, with corresponding benefits for employers. Here’s the link and here’s a blog summarising it

The OBR’s supply-side review will have political implications

Here’s a link to a piece published in CityAM this morning that explores the political implications of the Office of Budget Responsibility’s decision to review over the summer its estimates of the supply side potential of the economy. Since the ability of the economy to grow without causing inflationary pressures is linked to estimates of the structural deficit, any change will affect the perceived success – or otherwise – of the government’s attempts to meet its self-imposed target to eliminate it.  A smaller structural deficit and the government looks economically competent; a larger one and the rhetoric will shift to the need for longer-term solutions.

Not much evidence for Piketty thesis in Britain?

The Office of National Statistics today published its long-awaited third data point on the distribution of wealth amongst households in Britain, covering the period from 2010-12. This is the third data point since 2006, enabling us for the first time to explore whether the Piketty thesis – that wealth must tend to concentrate at the top – is valid. What today’s data shows is that the wealth distribution in Britain hasn’t become more unequal in recent years (although it was pretty unequal to start with) and within that there are some encouraging trends, for example in the distribution of pension assets across the population. Here’s a piece published today on the Guardian’s comment is free. 

What the ONS tells us about Piketty

The Office of National Statistics is publishing its latest slew of data on the UK wealth distribution on Thursday, This gives us an opportunity to explore whether the Piketty thesis – that wealth must increasingly concentrate amongst a few – is correct. All is not however as it seems. Research for the Smith Institute suggests that there is an important yet much overlooked cohort of people who own their own homes but have low incomes. Four million households in Britain, to be precise, or a sixth of the total, and by no means all of them are pensioners.  Insofar as these four million do not need to earn much money because they have no housing costs, it could be argued they are the real winners in the wealth distribution. See my Tooley Street Research blog for more

It’s the assets, stupid

We should dust off the asset-based welfare textbook, learning the lessons of child trust funds, the Savings Gateway and individual learning accounts, to use the power of time to enable the most vulnerable to take control of their own personal balance sheets. And, at the real bottom end of the pile, for those with negative assets (debts) we should use the concept of household solvency – not simply interest rates – to determine how easy credit should be regulated. – See more at: http://www.progressonline.org.uk/2014/04/09/its-the-assets-stupid/#sthash.SbzFCnm9.dpuf