Podcasts and event recordings from the Bennett Institute for Public Policy at the University of Cambridge.To listen to our Crossing Channels Podcast Series, produced with IAST, visit: https://pod.fo/e/102ba0
Union at the crossroads: can the British state handle the challenges of devolution?
There is a growing political focus upon the future of the UK Union, in the context of consistent support at 50% or higher for independence in Scotland, the destabilising impact that Brexit has had on Northern Ireland and the emergence of a more active independence movement in Wales.
A report published by the Bennett Institute for Public Policy, University of Cambridge, and The Constitution Society, states that the future of the Union needs to encompass a clearer focus upon the lack of a developed culture of, and machinery for, bringing the different governments of the UK together.
Two of it's authors, Michael Kenny, Professor of Public Policy and Director of the Bennett Institute, and Philip Rycroft, former Permanent Secretary at the Department for Exiting the European Union (2017-2019), share their insight into some of the decisions, events and mentalities within the state machinery that have led to the current situation and what the state must do to save the Union.
Read the report: Union at the crossroads: can the British state handle the challenges of devolution?
Wellbeing: Measuring what matters to people
There is a growing appreciation that the ‘success’ of a society is about more than money and growth, and that 'well-being', including our health, relationships, feelings, environment, goals, and other items, all have value to us, and that we should make decisions that invest in these areas accordingly.
There is however a less widespread appreciation of how to measure and weight these 'life qualities'. Different countries and organisations adopt different methods - from the United Nations' Sustainable Development Goals, to the OECD's Better Life initiative - and how much they are worth.
In this podcast, Deborah Hardoon, Head of Evidence at the What Works Centre for Wellbeing, and Dr Mark Fabian, social scientist, and Dr Matthew Agarwala, economist at the Bennett Institute for Public Policy, University of Cambridge, discuss their research which aims to build on the range of measures that already exist and the data they have generated, to tell us more about what matters, which indicators are most useful in which contexts, and the policy implications to improve overall well-being.
- Bennett Institute for Public Policy: The many dimensions of well-being
- What Works Centre for Well-being
The Many Dimensions of Well-being project is funded by the Economic and Social Research Council and the Arts and Humanities Research Council.
Building Forward: Investing in a Resilient Recovery
Government spending in response to Covid-19 stands at well over £300 billion in the UK, and over £10 trillion globally. How this money is spent will shape the future of the economy and the environment for decades to come.
Professor Diane Coyle, Dr Matthew Agarwala and Dimitri Zenghelis, Bennett Institute for Public Policy, discuss the key findings of their new Wealth Economy report: Building Forward: investing in a resilient recovery.
Building forward: Investing public funds - in people’s health and skills, and in social, natural, and physical capital - is the best way to bring about a more resilient and prosperous future, and to deliver the ‘levelling up’ agenda.
Place, inequality and assets: Geographical inequalities, such as access to education, employment and nature such as urban green space and clean air, affect society’s overall potential and productivity.
Public debt, public wealth and fiscal and structural sustainability: Investment in human, social and natural capital across the country is the best way to restore prosperity and ensure fiscal health after the pandemic. A temporary rise in the government debt/GDP ratio should not prevent investment. In periods of high uncertainty, low confidence, and unemployed economic resources, public investments in the natural environment and local community programmes offer attractive economic returns.
Case studies: Countries, from Scotland to New Zealand, are pioneering the wealth approach, and it sets out concrete actions – in education, infrastructure, fiscal policy, and the Treasury’s Green Book guidance – that the UK could take to Build Forward.
Putting the wealth approach into practice: Gaps in economic measurement have contributed to the chronic under-investment in assets such as natural and social capital. This makes them invisible in policy choices. Investment is needed in data gathering and statistics to provide timely information about the stock and performance of all the components of wealth and be considered in decision and policy making.