Centre for Progressive Policy

Share

In conversation with Anneliese Dodds MP, Shadow Chancellor

The UK faces its worst recession in 300 years, with the threat that longstanding social and economic inequalities deepen further. Levelling up policies need to be built into our post-Covid economy, but how?

Join us for this wide-ranging discussion with the Shadow Chancellor on how to build productivity and shared prosperity across the UK, and the road to inclusive growth.

The event was chaired by Stephanie Flanders, Head of Bloomberg Economics & former chair of the Inclusive Growth Commission.

More Episodes

7/8/2021

A shared motto or common paths?

If the Trump era was about America First, President Joe Biden has made his administration about ‘jobs first’ – both in recovering from the greatest economic crisis since the Great Depression and in responding to climate change. Similarly, Prime Minster Boris Johnson – invigorated by a swathe of Conservative party victories in recent elections – has promised that the UK will go ‘from jab, jab, jab to jobs, jobs, jobs’. The US and the UK face the same conjuncture. The economics and politics of both countries have been driven increasingly by the salience of division and inequality – whether regional, racial, health, wealth or income related.Upon assuming the presidency, Joe Biden set out a vision for unity to rebuild in the devastating wake of Covid-19, but it would be no mean feat against a backdrop of historic uprising in the Washington State Capitol and the Black Lives Matter protests that had swept the nation – and the world – over the previous summer. With long term stagnant to falling middle class wages, an ever-polarising city vs rural divide and Covid pushing over 2 million women out of the US workforce, the question of how to build back better, and what this could mean for different people and places will define the future of the country in decades to come. In the UK, the challenges of shaping new, post-Brexit trade links are as much about responding to the grievances of the former red wall as an exercise in foreign diplomacy. The result in the recent Hartlepool by-election typifies the scale of political dislocation from ‘traditional’ values and voting patterns, all while our very constitutional existence is under question as a United Kingdom.Much hope on both sides of the Atlantic has been pinned on the creation of new, green jobs – simultaneously driving prosperity and reducing climate emissions. Trillions of dollars have been committed by the US President for investment in physical and – notably –socialinfrastructure. This investment-led approach to more sustainable, inclusive growth has been heralded by some as the timely and long overdue introduction of a firmer social safety net. Others fear the impact of this approach, overheating the economy with the sheer scale of federal financial intervention and shifting the US towards a model directly opposed to its founding 'small State’ principles. Meanwhile Boris Johnson’s Conservative Party is leading a seismic shift in UK politics in its mission to level up by tackling ingrained regional inequalities across the UK - territory previously the reserve of the Left. Investment in physical infrastructure and the quality of local high streets are high on the agenda, with the promise of a ‘skills and training revolution’ also in the offing.What do UK and US leaders – national and local – need to do to deliver on the hope of building back better? What are the key barriers to success? What can the UK learn from its US counterparts, and vice versa?How do we prevent this moment being a missed opportunity for systemic change? Are we witnessing a more fundamental shift in the Anglo-Saxon model that has shaped the development of modern capitalism in the UK, US and beyond?What might the results of this shift be in the medium – longer term?PanellistsPenny Abeywardena, NYC Commissioner & former Director of Girls and Women Integration (CGI)Heidi Binko, Executive Director & Co-Founder, Just Transition FundSunder Katwala, Director of British FutureBruce Katz, Founding Director of the Nowak Metro Finance Lab at Drexel University in PhiladelphiaSir John Kay, Economist
6/17/2021

Is the algorithm working for us?

The Centre for Progressive Policy talked to the former Chair of Ofqual, Roger Taylor, about what really happened during last year's exam debacle and what lessons we might draw on the future of algorithms, qualifications and fairness in education. Roger shared his thoughts publicly for the first time since stepping down from the regulator.In 2020 Covid closed 90 per cent of the world's schools. In the long list of harm caused by the pandemic, the disruption to the education of a generation may prove to be long lasting. One acute aspect of this was the difficulties countries faced in administering examinations. The UK and Ireland chose the unusual route of using co teacher assessments and predictions to estimate likely results. There was widespread agreement about the viability, even desirability, of the policy amongst education leaders before the event; and wholesale rejection by the people affected by it. There is much to learn from this.The episode has highlighted the tension between meritocracy and examinations. The Algorithm was rejected because it was intolerable that young people would have their futures determined by a prediction based on things such as which school they went to. Some were troubled by the extent to which some students would have done better than predicted. But others were equally troubled by the degree to which a child’s circumstances could account for how they would perform in exams. This year exams won’t be held because it would be unfair when children have had such different levels of access to education. But that leaves open the question of why they are fair in normal times, when pupils experience very different levels of educational support and the educational set backs that many children have suffered over the course of the pandemic will continue to affect them for years ahead.These events undermine public trust in the fairness of exams. Many employers have similar concerns, some of whom are turning away from exam grades as an indicator of employability and are instead using their own assessments which they claim give them a better understanding of their candidates and support more diverse hiring. In the past, the temptation for politicians has been to try to diffuse these tensions by degrading the quality of educational assessment, allowing grades to inflate or adopting untrustworthy forms of assessment. Rather than allowing this to happen, we need an approach that improves and expands the range of information that young people can use to demonstrate their skills.In this event, the former chair of Ofqual, Roger Taylor talked about fairness and quality in education and how the current system needs to change. Former Children's Commissioner Anne Longfield OBE and Chief Executive of the REC, Neil Carberry responded to the comments. The event was chaired by CPP's director Charlotte Alldritt.Key questions included: How can we create an education and assessment system that operates as a driver of social mobility? Or do we have unfair expectations about the degree to which education can tackle wider social and economic inequalities? How can the Department for Education ensure learning and assessment enhance children’s opportunities and bridge young people’s skills and potential with employers? In what ways can employers be further involved in these policies and in practice? How can we align the needs of measuring what a young person can do and assessing their potential whilst ensuring education standards? What is the role of data and digital technology in ensuring that robust assessment complements a meritocratic education system?Sign up here to receive invitations for future eventshttps://progressive-policy.us17.list-manage.com/subscribe?u=24e4a85116c5264bd2f871286&id=01d3d549a2
5/6/2021

The post-pandemic labour market: How do we create more and better jobs?

The labour market that emerges from the crisis will be very different from before the pandemic struck. The high street has been gutted by successive lockdowns and the acceleration of online retail sales. Other consumer behaviours and preferences may well be changed permanently as people have grown used to doing without their daily barista coffee or salon haircut, or – more importantly – as households feel the pinch of lower wages, shorter hours or redundancy and can no longer afford to do so. The government has done its best to incentivise job retention over the last twelve months, but a real risk remains of a spike in joblessness once furlough ends. The Office for Budget Responsibility anticipates unemployment could hit 6.5% this year and while a large economic bounce back is expected as the vaccines take hold, the economy is likely be scarred by the impact of coronavirus for years to come. This will intensify pre-existing regional inequalities, making the task of levelling up all the harder and all the more critical.The government has remained outwardly committed to levelling up as the cornerstone of its domestic policy agenda. But the recent Budget was still largely focussed on emergency support to tie the UK economy and workforce into the autumn. Soon we will need a detailed and actionable plan for jobs which seeks to respond to the challenges and opportunities ahead, boost the demand for good jobs and increase the supply of qualified people through the skills system. All while work itself is changing, not least through an expected permanent increase in remote working and the impact this will have on the nature and distribution of jobs – both those that can be done at home, and those for whom an office, factory and other fixed work settings remain compulsory or essential.The event will consider key questions including:How can we build on the government’s current Plan for Jobs and Plan for Growth to deliver the good jobs of the future? How should we prioritise different industries as the engines of job creation? To what extent will green growth or other emerging sectors offer opportunities in this context? How do we avoid the rise of insecure work and underemployment similar to that experienced after 2008? How can we revamp the skills system to support those who have been out of work and need reskilling into new good jobs? What can local government do to drive forward good jobs in their area?PanellistsDiane Coyle, Bennett Professor of Public Policy, University of CambridgeAnna Thomas, co-founder and Director, Institute for the Future of WorkMartin Vander Weyer, Business Editor of the SpectatorCharlotte Alldritt, Director, Centre for Progressive Policy (Chair)