A report released today by leading think-tank Policy Exchange highlights how every year councils lose more than £1 billion by failing to identify where fraud has taken place. The paper also sheds light on how a lack of data sharing and collaboration between many local authorities, as well as the use of bespoke IT systems, keeps the cost of providing public services unsustainably high.
Over 1 million households who cannot afford to heat their home to a comfortable level are in work according to a new report, which also reveals that the households living in the least energy efficient properties would have to spend as much as £1,700 extra a year to heat their home to a suitable temperature.
Prolific criminals serving community orders, who break the terms of their probation, could be sent to jail for up to a week under plans to make the criminal justice system swifter and fairer. Swift and Certain says that 182,000 offenders receive either a Community Order or Suspended Sentence Order every year, with a third failing to complete their order with punishments not being until 5 weeks after the breach.
Housing associations are being stifled by unnecessary red tape that prevents them from building 100,000 new homes a year – a third of the total housing supply needed to keep up with demand. A new category of 'Free Housing Associations', should buy out their historical grant from the government in return for the removal of regulatory restrictions.
Electoral Omission highlights how the administration of elections in the UK remains dangerously inefficient and open to fraud and predicts that there will be up to 15.5 million errors on the UK's electoral registers at the time of next year's General Election. The report recommends the introduction of targets for the maximum number of omissions and errors in the electoral register and annual checks to measure accuracy, along with small council tax rebates to encourage people to complete and return their voter registration forms.
Every worker in Britain will have to pay into a new unemployment insurance scheme which will put personal contribution at the heart of the welfare system. For the first time people who have worked hard and paid their taxes will receive a greater level of out of work support. The majority of people who work all their lives could end up with a £10,000 pot when they retire, providing a significant income boost considering the average pension pot is just £36,800.
Over 3,000 primary schools (20%) could fall below the government’s tough new minimum standards in reading and writing and maths in 2016. A “perfect storm” of challenges will see a number of head teachers retire, a continued drop off in local authority funding for primaries and the introduction of a new national curriculum and assessment systems, putting more pressure on teachers.
Policy Exchange is delighted to announce that David Frum, one of the leading thinkers and writers on public policy in the English-speaking world, is the new Chairman of Trustees of Policy Exchange. He succeeds Lord Finkelstein of Pinner, who is standing down at the end of his three year term.
A Garden Cities Act should be introduced by the next government to enable existing towns and cities to bid for garden city status that will enable them to double in size, providing attractive new homes for thousands of people while preserving the countryside, according to the winner of the Wolfson Economics Prize 2014.
David Rudlin of urban design and research consultancy URBED will be awarded the £250,000 Prize at a gala dinner and awards ceremony this evening in central London.