Tuesday, 24 June 2014

The Condition of Britain

Last week, think-tank the Institute for Public Policy Research (IPPR) published its Condition of Britain report.

It’s an important contribution to the debate about how to build a better society in tough times. It sets out some valuable principles for reform around devolving power, rewarding contribution, and building institutions.

We’re in an economy where a minority are doing very well, but the majority are finding the household budget more difficult to balance than it was five years ago as price increases have outstripped income changes. In addition, there is a significant part of the population who see themselves as locked out of the opportunities available to the rest. That gap, and the level of inequality, is increasing.

The report proposes that we must all work together to build a stronger society on three ‘pillars’:
  • spreading power,
  • fostering contribution, and
  • strengthening shared institutions.
It then goes on to make 28 specific recommendations about:
  • Families: Raising children and nurturing relationships
  • Young people: enabling secure transitions into adulthood
  • Working life: promoting work and rewarding contribution
  • Housing: mobilising local leadership to build more homes.

These are big issues requiring tough decisions. Inevitably, some of the recommendations have received more publicity than others.

For instance, young people and their parents will be particularly interested in the proposal that 18-21 year olds who aren’t work ready should be in training and not on benefits. Therefore, they should be assisted to get good qualifications and/or work experience. Support would be given to those whose parents can’t support them through training, in the same way as we currently do for those in higher education. Exceptional support would be given to those who genuinely can’t live at home. But, otherwise, entitlement to Job Seekers Allowance should end.

What do you think?

You can read the report, in full or in summary, at