Local government

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Why furlough should be available permanently

Published by Anonymous (not verified) on Sat, 11/07/2020 - 5:00pm in

Germany has had a partial unemployment or short time working scheme since the 1900s. According to the FT: The tool is Kurzarbeit, or shorter work-time, a policy that has been copied by so many other countries that one economist called it one of Germany’s “most successful exports”. Under the scheme, companies hit by a downturn... Read more

More and more local authorities are ready to go bust

Published by Anonymous (not verified) on Thu, 25/06/2020 - 5:00pm in

According to the Local Government Chronicle, Manchester City Council is contemplating a section 114 notice (effectively a declaration of bankruptcy) and Leeds and Liverpool city councils, Wiltshire Council, Cumbria CC and Windsor & Maidenhead are all thought to be in a similar position. London boroughs have also warned of ‘catastrophic’ cuts and council tax rises... Read more

We don’t have to accept a corporate blueprint for a future world. The alternative is to forge a collective vision based on solid values and publicly provided foundations to enable human and planetary flourishing.

Image by Alexas_Fotos from Pixabay

‘We hope this pandemic will teach us that in normal times we must build up our supplies, our infrastructure, and our institutions to be able to deal with crises. We should not wait for the next national crisis to live up to our means’.

Yeva Nersisyan and L Randall Wray

Austerity and cuts to public spending have taken a wrecking ball to our public infrastructure, not least local government. As central government funding was cut as a deliberate austerity policy, councils have spent the last 10 years trying to balance their books by cutting services and increasing local taxes and other charges to make ends meet. In 2019 council leaders said that government funding cuts would leave a £25bn black hole – leaving some councils having to consider bankruptcy as an option. The COVID-19 crisis is revealing the scale of the damage which has been done to the vital public infrastructure, particularly that which serves our local communities.

Despite the government’s COVID-19 crisis bailouts amounting to £3.2bn last month and additional money for social care, the writing is on the wall. Windsor and Maidenhead District Council said it was ready to file for bankruptcy as a result of its predicted £14m shortfall with only £6m in reserves. Many other councils face similar dilemmas. What options are left when they have already cut their spending to the bone to keep delivering their statutory duties which include social care? Already, there have been huge cuts to local services.

Hundreds of libraries closed, children’s and adult social services cut, a public health budget which has faced hundreds of millions of pounds in cuts since 2014/15, fewer waste collections, cuts to parks, sports, arts and leisure services not to mention increased outsourcing of public services including social care to private contractors to cut costs. While the focus has been rightly on how rundown the NHS has become as a result of a decade of austerity, council services which have also borne the brunt of cuts have left the UK totally unprepared with insufficient staffing and a degraded infrastructure to cope.

And now the situation has become so dire that even statutory duties are no longer sacred. Last month it was reported that a number of councils had taken advantage of the government’s COVID-19 emergency measures which allow them to suspend their duties to provide elements of adult social care so that resources can be redirected towards coronavirus support.

While government ministers claim, from their ivory towers, that they stand behind councils and that they are giving them the funding they need, the evidence is to the contrary. The horse has already bolted from the stable and did so the day George Osborne imposed austerity on the nation. Ten years of cuts cannot be remedied quickly and easily; you cannot rebuild overnight that infrastructure that has been lost. Without adequate central government funding now, local government will remain a shadow of its former self or indeed may not survive in its current form. With social care budgets making up over half of what councils spend then it is clear that something will have to give. It is likely that the axe will fall not just on remaining services but also on social care; the review of which has yet to take place having been kicked down the road endless times by successive governments.

We are facing the demise of local government and local democracy for more centralised decision making which can only be to the detriment of our local communities who are served best by those that know them best. Local government needs a massive injection of funds to allow it to implement both central and local initiatives, not just to manage this emergency but to ensure that the economy can rebuild itself and flourish in the future. It needs to rebuild the infrastructure that currently sits in tatters as a result of deliberate government policies to dismantle it. All it lacks is real political will.

Some deride local government, but without the services that it provides our lives have become poorer. We are beginning to recognise that, along with our NHS and other public services, they form the bedrock of our local communities. COVID-19 has revealed their vital nature in this time of national emergency. As the spotlight falls on our public infrastructure which has been so cruelly stripped down, it highlights the terrible cost of austerity. Not just in deaths from COVID-19, the scale of which was preventable had the government acted sooner, but also deaths caused by government policies and reforms to the social security system which have dehumanised people, left them impoverished, hungry, homeless and sometimes suicidal.

While we witness the very real consequences of the economic ideologies pursued by successive governments, which have denied the value of our public infrastructure except in profit terms for private corporations serviced with public money, we are now also witnessing another battle. The battle about the affordability of the current round of government spending and the perennial question about where the money will come from to pay for it.

This week, two articles appeared in the Telegraph which is not known for its progressive stance. The first suggested that according to a leaked Treasury document the country could face a ‘sovereign debt crisis’ and it set out a package of tax rises and spending cuts which would be aimed at ‘enhancing credibility and boosting investor confidence.’ It proposed an end to the triple lock on state pension increases and a two-year public sector pay freeze (so much for all that clapping on the steps of No.10). In effect, it suggested that higher debt now will have to be paid for in the future to stabilise the debt-to-GDP ratio and ‘prevent debt from growing on an unsustainable trajectory’.

Then, in the same week, another more surprising article entitled ‘The Treasury is wrong’: we don’t need hair-shirt austerity’ contradicted that proposition and said that ‘it was a sure-fire formula for structural damage and an economic depression.’ It also suggested that ‘we should be cutting taxes to support the economy’ and said that ‘the idea that we need significant spending cuts or tax rises is completely wrong.’ The author ended by commenting that it was ‘extraordinary that a sovereign country with all levers of economic policy under its own control should contemplate such self-harm’’. Whilst it is true that the article is still couched in the orthodox household budget narrative that austerity would lower future tax take and thus would be counterproductive for the public finances, it does nevertheless point out that such a course of action would be tantamount to a ‘scorched earth policy’.

However, confusion seems to reign in Tory-supporting circles as on Friday Boris Johnson, rejecting the Treasury floated proposal for more austerity to cover the cost of the coronavirus crisis, said that there was no question of freezing public sector workers’ pay and that the government were intending to spend heavily on infrastructure as the country exited lockdown. On the other hand, whether one can trust Johnson’s promises is another matter, given his track record on truth-telling both before the crisis and through it. Whilst he has a very short memory it is also possible that it will be a short career as Prime Minister. Clearly, it reveals potential tensions between No 10 and the current occupant of No 11, but it also demonstrates that the standard household budget orthodoxy still takes precedence even if it is purely a mechanism to deliver a political agenda rather than a recognition of how governments really spend.

We should remember whose pockets have benefited these last couple of months from public money. Only this week, it was revealed that the government had awarded £1bn worth of contracts to private companies bypassing the tendering process and thus any accountability. It had also failed to use NHS Laboratory capacity for testing, preferring to give the work to private companies. The lie of the land is easy to see. There is never a shortage of public money for corporations, but when it comes to public services the magic money tree goes into hibernation.

That we are seeing challenges to the economic orthodoxy of the past few decades is a positive step forward. Less positive is that it is still being seen in terms of productive economy meaning more taxes and less debt as if the national debt were the single most harmful issue that the nation faces. The suggestion that the government could face a sovereign debt crisis is the same as David Cameron deceitfully suggested in 2010; that we were like Greece and could go bankrupt if we didn’t get our public finances under control.

However, as many more people are beginning to realise, the UK government as the currency issuer can never run out of money and cannot become insolvent. When it issues bonds, which are portrayed erroneously as borrowing, it can always meet those liabilities upon maturity including any interest accrued. In fact, it doesn’t even have to issue debt to cover its deficit.

The bottom line is that the national debt represents our assets – our savings – not a burden on the nation, either now or for future generations. In 1945, when our debt to GDP ratio was around 240%, we built our NHS and put in place a social security system to protect people from cradle to grave. That spending represented a real investment in the future of the nation and the economy and in doing it we didn’t go bankrupt then, any more than we can now.

It is vital to turn this damaging narrative on its head. Deficits do matter, but not in the way we tend to think they do. They are normal and necessary, representing as they do our savings and the money circulating in the economy. Rather than focusing on the size of the national debt, it would be better to ask questions about what that debt represents. What was it spent on and why and who benefited or lost out? The answers to those questions will vary depending on the economic conditions of the day and the political agenda of the government in power.

The record of any government, which includes a range of factors from social to economic including full employment, is the real measure of success. Not whether it was fiscally disciplined and achieved a balanced budget. Damaging a nation’s health and prosperity cannot in any way be defined as success. The Conservatives spent ten years destroying it and regardless of how much money is promised now or in the future, it will take time to rebuild that lost public infrastructure if indeed they choose to do so.

In these difficult times, we are seeing the consequences of austerity on everything that we have hitherto valued but have maybe taken for granted. We have allowed successive governments to whittle away at those public structures upon which the foundations of a fairer society were built in the post-war period. We have accepted, not just the lie of unaffordability because we understandably compared the state finances to our own household budgets, but also that the market provided better outcomes for publicly paid-for services as if the government could be compared to a profit and loss business. This, in turn, has given corporations huge influence and power in Westminster and has lined their pockets, at the expense of good quality publicly funded and managed provision.

Those lies are now unravelling. Let’s make sure they unravel to a conclusion which invites a re-examination of our values and a commitment to creating a collective vision of the future which is both environmentally sustainable and fairer for all. Failure to challenge the rapid transformation of our society into a corporate free-for-all will leave us impoverished automatons in its service.

 

 

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The post We don’t have to accept a corporate blueprint for a future world. The alternative is to forge a collective vision based on solid values and publicly provided foundations to enable human and planetary flourishing. appeared first on The Gower Initiative for Modern Money Studies.

Participative Platforms and Alternative Tech Regimes

Published by Anonymous (not verified) on Tue, 12/05/2020 - 7:00am in

The world has been in crisis for decades now. The COVID-19 pandemic only adds to another year of dehumanising wars, droughts and famine, fires and environmental destruction, and the increasing consequences of anthropogenic global heating, to name a few of the more pressing issues of our times. They are all bound up with the never ending growth promoted by the current economic system. This system protects powerful elites and large corporations, which are enabled by governments who see them as allies in continuing the flow of capital at the expense of extracting natural resources, privatising public goods and services, and surveilling and commodifying people’s lives, all the while imposing regressive agendas, concentrating wealth in the hands of a few and increasing inequality at rampant speeds. Networked computing machines are the profit-driven and largely privatised infrastructure that supports this capitalist system. In the near future, though, it is possible that participatory democracy will become more mediatised, and public and cooperative initiatives will rise as alternatives to recover technological infrastructure as a public good.

What makes the COVID-19 crisis different from other crises has been its almost simultaneous impact across the globe, and the imperative need to minimise social mobility and trade to cope with the potential impact of an outbreak on human health, given the limited capacity of healthcare systems. It has become evident that decades of neoliberal policy have systematically weakened states’ ability to provide public services and secure and stable working conditions for its citizens. The world has stopped—not because it was a moral duty but because of a system failure, with some countries better prepared and with more resources to navigate the crisis. This system failure will become even more noticeable in the coming months. While government responses to the COVID-19 crisis have been oriented to reduce the ongoing social and economic impacts of the pandemic, citizens should be critical about the policies that have driven us to this situation in the first place, and demand change. That is a first step that will allow us to conceive of different structures and institutions to manage more resilient futures.

The mediatisation of people’s lives has given tech corporations enormous power over the political organisation of society, while citizens who are active online have limited impact in the political arena. Information overload, filter bubbles, echo-chambers and the increasing privatisation of cyber spaces are hindering the political participation of citizens, even when critical decisions are being made on their behalf. Measures are being passed without debate or consensus; the basic attributes of democracy are being ignored. Governments across the ideological spectrum defer to technology corporations to solve the socio-economic crisis, deploying technological fixes that fail to tackle structural problems and cannot guarantee the provision of human care. Privately owned black-boxed platforms proliferate, legitimising their operations and pervasive business models, and yet governments continue to neglect addressing this matter in ways that benefit their communities. COVID-19 containment apps follow this same logic; they are being used to identify cases, surveil citizens and enforce mobility restrictions. It has been argued that they may cause more harm than good, and if implemented they should satisfy baseline preconditions such as open-source software, large testing and rigorous evaluation prior to deployment, a privacy-by-design approach, and rights-based data standards to reduce detrimental effects on civil liberties. Currently these apps—promoted as beneficial to society—are being rolled out without much debate. Citizens receive limited information and their input is disregarded in critical times when governments should promote participation, practise transparency and gather public trust. Once again, political technology is being de-politicised.

As many commentators have pointed out already, the COVID-19 crisis provides multiple opportunities to do things differently—decarbonise the economy, promote de-growth and a green new deal, and advance agendas of social and economic rights. In this case, I argue that local governments should lead the way towards alternative technology-governance regimes, taking steps to make these systems more ethical and sustainable, and to approach networked computing machines and their programming proactively, with the aim of benefiting society. A first step could be co-developing and managing a free and open-source platform for political participation. This is particularly applicable in countries such as Australia, where local governments are the most decentralised expression of formal democracy and the places where change seems more tangible. Local governments are responsible for their physical infrastructure and most of their community facilities and services. In recent years, many local governments have been characterised by enabling citizen participation in decision making and transparency in their administration. And although some councils still have some of the ‘New Public Management’ neoliberal approach to managing public services, others are less corporatised, more progressive and more community oriented, which provides a good foundation for proposing the following.

Technological sovereignty is a useful concept, allowing us to conceive of technology and data as a public good and to claim back the power to collaboratively decide what ends it serves. In practice, this means reducing dependence on private vendors and using free and open-source software. It involves promoting citizen leadership, ensuring encryption, transparency and citizens’ rights to privacy. Within this framework, minding the technological divide, participative platforms could be useful tools for local governments to strengthen participatory democracy. Crucially, they could complement—not take the place of—offline efforts by activists to increase citizens’ involvement in co-creating community-oriented agendas while invigorating their political life. It seems to be an alternative worth exploring, providing—with a certain degree of political efficacy—an opportunity for engaged citizens to participate online, particularly in times of confinement.

Under COVID-19 conditions, a participative platform led by local governments could allow citizens to have a say on policy, elevating communities’ perceptions and claims to higher political decision-making levels. It could provide the opportunity for citizens to organise on an open platform oriented towards the public good. It could facilitate access to firsthand, ethically collected and anonymised information about COVID-19 impacts on the community and contribute to the development of public policy. Even if private platforms could serve similar purposes, relying on them would only reinforce public dependency on the private provision of technology solutions for social challenges, expanding their governance power in cities, exacerbating inequality and constraining the possibilities for implementing more structural changes to the status quo. It also normalises the business model of data extraction and minimises the chances of political participation, as these opportunities are diminished by privately owned technology infrastructure.

Alternative computer-mediated approaches for political participation are ready to be adopted. Free open-source software blueprints such as Decidim and Consul are the most common ones, with numerous case studies around the world. The former, more community oriented and versatile, is being used in Barcelona for political participation and civic engagement; the Barcelona City Council has been a reference for the technological sovereign paradigm in cities. Helsinki is using it for participatory budgeting, and the City of Mexico is using it for proposing, debating and voting on city projects and programs. These can be valuable knowledge sources to inform any incursion into a technology paradigm of self-sufficiency and community empowerment beyond the hollow claims of technocrats and cyber-utopians. To make the most of this opportunity, political will might be needed. From there, participatory democracy online, as offline, will be a process of co-construction.

Planning the rollout of FOGO bins

Published by Anonymous (not verified) on Thu, 07/05/2020 - 1:53pm in

Housing population

If you’re in waste management at a local council that hasn’t yet introduced FOGO bins, this blog offers some suggestions for planning the transition. Specifically, it explains how to find the number of households in your area that may be of a size or type that may need extra support to manage the transition to a new waste collection cycle.

This blog is rubbish, but it’s a good news story.

There’s a terrific new initiative that’s being rolled out via councils across Australia – the Food Organics and Garden Organics, or FOGO, bins. If you haven’t heard of them yet, there was a great feature on Gardening Australia last week, giving a behind-the-scenes look at the FOGO scheme.

Our work to help councils make informed decisions goes well beyond the ‘three R’s’ – Rubbish, Roads and Rates – we know councils deliver many important services beyond those. However the weekly (or fortnightly) bin collection is one of those services that everyone notices when it does – and doesn’t – happen!

The FOGO scheme is being introduced to reduce the amount of food and organic waste that goes to landfill, and instead turn it into beautiful compost that can be used to improve our soil’s ability to retain water, grow healthy plants and sequester carbon. Win-win-win-win.

I’d set up a couple of compost bins at our place before we’d finished unpacking boxes, so I’ve had a good home for veggie scraps and coffee grounds for a while. However, even for us, I’ve found the FOGO bin has significantly cut down the amount of household waste that’s ending up in our general waste bin. Because we can FOGO (I reckon it’s good enough to be a verb) things like tissues, paper towels, meat scraps and leftover food, the FOGO component of our collection really adds up.

Sunday night is bin night at our place, so last week I was incredulous when there was still a full general waste bin on my kerb at 5pm Monday night. Then I remembered – as proud owners of a shiny new FOGO bin, our general waste collections are now fortnightly, rather than weekly. That’s the trade-off.

So far, it’s working for us – the reduction in organic waste going into landfill means we can just make our little 80L bin stretch the fortnight. However, it’s tight – so I called the council to understand our options. They explained they’d expected that some households may find changes to their weekly general waste collection a challenge, such as elderly people and larger households.

Understanding the composition of households in your LGA

As I was speaking with the council, it occurred to me this is a great example of how our local community profiles can be used to inform planning and decision making at council. In this case, the waste management planning team at my council can (and hopefully did!) use our community profiles to understand the composition of households in our local government area. Knowing that some household types would find the transition harder than others, it could help them understand what percentage of households in each neighbourhood would fall into these categories, and make provisions for extra support accordingly.

If you’re in waste management at a local council that is yet to introduce a FOGO bin for your residents, check out the average household size page on your community profile. It will show you how many households of 4+, 5+ 6+ persons there are in each of your suburbs/small areas within your LGA. The social atlas tool shows how lone person households, group households and couples with children are distributed throughout different neighbourhoods.

Hopefully, understanding the household composition in different neighbourhoods will help you make the case for FOGO bins in your council, and help you plan the rollout and communication strategy to ensure everyone is on board.

Appreciation for the community builders

As a footnote, I’ve been super impressed at how my local council have introduced this initiative in the community. There has been lots of communication over the last few months to bring the everyone on board with the idea and make the case for the change. In this month’s newsletter, Ivan described local government as the community building tier of government. The leadership shown in schemes like this are a great example of what he’s talking about.

Local government has been sold down the river..

Published by Anonymous (not verified) on Tue, 05/05/2020 - 5:00pm in

In spite of the Conservatives ‘levelling up’ there seems very little desire to reinvigorate local control. Indeed this current government seems positively in fear of local control- as would appear to be indicated by their loose rhetoric to ‘do whatever it takes’ yet all local government finds it difficult to get their rightful allocation of... Read more

How to create an economic baseline for your Covid-19 response plan

Published by Anonymous (not verified) on Thu, 16/04/2020 - 3:43pm in

As many councils work to support their local communities, businesses and industries during the Covid-19 pandemic, Ryan James reminds us of some basic methods to assess the status of your local economy.

Webinar |Since this post was first published, our economics team presented a webinar sharing the early results of the work they’ve done to understand the impact of Covid-19 on local economies. You can watch a recording of that webinar here.

Coming soon: economic forecasts | Our economics team are also developing a new economic forecasting tool, that will provide estimates for a number of economic indicators for every Local Government Area in Australia over the next eight quarters. You can subscribe here to be sent updates about this project, and be notified when the forecasts are available.

We know that many people are doing some baseline analysis to identify how vulnerable their local area is. Understanding the ‘pre-Covid’ status of a place sets the context from which we can assess likely impacts and prepare our localised responses to this significant ‘shock’ to the economy.

This blog outlines some key factors to help you assess the status of your local economy. It includes four recommendations to guide an assessment of how vulnerable an economy may be;

Use up-to-date data from reliable sources

It is important to use current and verifiable data. It sounds obvious but economic data at the local level can be very challenging to find. Macro and State data is somewhat easier but local area data takes specific expertise. And with the increase in opinion pieces and speculation, it is increasingly important to use dependable sources.

The local area economic data in our local area economic profiles were updated in January to show the state of local economies throughout 2018/19. This captures the more than 800,000 jobs and $118b in GRP added to the Australian economy since the last Census, and provides an important recent baseline for ‘pre-Covid’ activity.

This baseline data provides an important understanding of your region’s economic drivers and industry mix, based on the latest data, which will be critical in developing actions through the impact and recovery phase of COVID-19.

Use benchmarking to set your local context

When we conduct training sessions with local councils and communities, we are often asked how to interpret the economic data presented. We suggest a simple but powerful technique called “dominant-emerging” analysis as a really good way to make sense of the data.

‘Dominant-emerging’ analysis is based on asking two questions about any area:

  1. What role does it play within its region? (benchmarking)
  2. How is it changing? (change over time analysis)

Benchmarking allows you to identify the role and function of your economy. Where possible, undertake a comparison to other areas (we recommend you choose a regional benchmark (e.g. regional QLD) or a similar LGA, rather than a state or national benchmark), so you can identify challenges that are specific to your area. This information can help you tailor your response. You can find a list of economic data for every LGA in Australia for comparison on our national economic indicators page.

Change over time analysis allows you to see how the current impacts compare to trends over recent years. Understanding whether an industry was growing or declining pre-Covid is a key element to planning for the future, and establishing whether that be a return to business-as-usual or a new vision for your place.

Assess vulnerability indicators

Some areas are more vulnerable than others, and while many indicies and classifications have been devised to measure the relative status of both social and economic exposure in recent weeks, here are a few that we are currently using.

Exposed Industries

Some industries are more impacted by coronavirus than others. NIEIR has developed an economic model of the sectoral impacts of COVID-19 at the national, state and LGA level. Assumptions are made about the effectiveness of health measures and economic policies. The table below provides a summary of the sectors most impacted.

Using this information, combined with an understanding of your dominant and emerging industries will provide you with information about sectors most vulnerable in your LGA.

This Special Report from IBIS provides another perspective about the industry impacts and why some industries are more vulnerable than others.

International Supply Chains

The fall in economic activity in our trading partners, which will be on average around 5% for the 2020 calendar year, will heavily impact Australian exports over the next nine (or more) months. Analysing the export reliance (overall and by industry) of your economy will help you understand how vulnerable your local economy is to a fall in global demand.

Here is an example from the City of Sydney that shows how their Tertiary Education sector is more reliant on international exports than the rest of Australia.

Exposed Workers

Exposed workers can show the connection between economic conditions and the wellbeing of your residents and includes the number of people engaged in casual employment and low-income workers. They often have less secure employment and may be more at risk of being furloughed or having inadequate income during this time.

It is particularly important for those providing community services to know the numbers of people at risk of losing their jobs, or if hours worked are reduced, as demand for support and social assistance may increase.

The example below shows how Onkaparinga in South Australia has a higher proportion of workers with less than full-time hours who may be exposed.

Tourism

The social distancing measures will see tourism activity fall significantly across Australia. Regions reliant on tourism and hospitality are particularly vulnerable to these impacts.

Our economic profiles identify the percentage of a Local Government Area’s employment and economic activity is reliant on Tourism related activity.

See below, nearly 20% of employment on the Gold Coast was Tourism related before COVID-19, well above the Queensland average. The tourism vitiation pages can also tell you about the share of visitors who are domestic or international which can provide further insights into the nature of the impacts and duration of recovery.

Identify new data that will help you monitor progress

We will be releasing regular updates, so you have a repository of information to keep you up-to-date and informed. This will include;

In addition to these tips to help you understand the impact of COVID-19 on your local economy, our community team has recently published a series of indicators to help you assess your community’s demographic vulnerability to the pandemic.

Questions?

We are here to support local government as you work to support your local communities. If you have a question you would like our experts to answer and share on our blog, submit it here. Otherwise, stay subscribed to our blog for more updates and resources throughout each phase of the Covid-19 response period. We also don’t mind an old-fashioned phone call!

‘One Nation’ or Local Control?

Published by Anonymous (not verified) on Tue, 25/02/2020 - 7:00pm in

Amidst all the talk of Johnson being a one nation Conservative we have the admission, it seems, of a complete break from the EU on WTO terms. That puts both Industry and Local Authorities in an unbelievably difficult position. See, for example, Claire Wright’s speech in Devon County Council’s recent session, which means they have... Read more

Back to school for Osborne and others

Published by Anonymous (not verified) on Tue, 14/01/2020 - 7:00pm in

I don’t know whether George Osborne is consumed with guilt or whether he is as reckless now as he was in power, but there are a couple of remarkably incisive articles in two recent London ‘Evening Standard’s. Both concern schooling. One points out that the rise in school exclusions is linked to the rise and... Read more