Author Archives: Collingwood

Publishing pay ratios won’t solve the problem

With the recent BBC article releasing the data which shows Chief Executive pay rose by 11% last year to around £4 million, the calls began once more to force these large companies to produce pay ratios.

This reporting requirement would look something similar to the Gender Pay Gap reporting requirements, however, the sympathy I have for the Gender Pay Gap requirements would not extend to this.

By introducing the requirement to report the ratio between executive pay and the lowest paid worker in the company, you are not solving any issues, and I’ll explain why.

Posted in Op-eds | 17 Comments

A Fairer Share for All Working Group: The road to a liberal Britain

I joined the Liberal Democrats in November to help to create a more liberal United Kingdom. At a time when protectionism and populism are on the rise, not just in the UK but around the globe, it is crucial that we have liberal answers to the difficult questions.

Despite being 10 years on, we are still hungover from the financial crisis. There has been a major squeeze on incomes, structural changes that have damaged towns and the generational divide has grown.

Because of this, I decided to apply to join the A Fairer Share for All working group. Even though populism is …

Posted in Op-eds | Tagged and | 38 Comments

Reforming National Insurance Contributions

There has been much talk recently about how we are going to raise money to fund public services, and National Insurance Contributions (NIC) is usually the option the Treasury takes. This is predominantly because the public see NICs as something distinct from general taxation.

However, continually raising NICs hurts the income of working people, depresses wages and is generationally unfair.

NICs is only levied on those aged 65 and under, this explains to an extent why it is still seen as a contribution rather than a tax. However, with life expectancies rising and insufficient pension savings, people are working much longer. Raising …

Posted in News and Op-eds | Tagged | 19 Comments

We need to make it easier to move

We are all aware of the issues surrounding property in the UK. According to the Resolution Foundation, as many as one third of millennials will be renting from cradle to grave. This is a serious problem that no party has ever really got to grips with.

When Labour were in Government, house building was one of the fewer policy areas that didn’t get much attention. All of the attention was on reforming public services, especially post-2001, rather than on housing.

Under the Conservative’s we have seen the introduction of initiatives aimed at helping people get onto the housing ladder. These include Help To Buy and the Lifetime ISA. However, we need to go further to improve the housing market.

Posted in Op-eds | 14 Comments

Helping the Homeless

One quick look around our town or city centres and you will have noticed that the number of homeless people on the streets has grown. According to Shelter, 281,000 people were living in temporary accommodation, 21,300 were in homeless hostels and 4,500 were sleeping on the streets.

London, the economic powerhouse of the UK, also suffers from one of the biggest blights – it is the homeless capital as well. In London, one in every 59 people are homeless. The Borough of Newham has the worst record, where one in every 27 residents are homeless.

Posted in Op-eds | 11 Comments

Improving consumer knowledge in the energy industry

As a liberal, I am not in the business of banning many things. I subscribe to the idea that knowledge is power, and that by providing consumers with more information, positive outcomes can be achieved. For a market to be competitive, consumers must have information, and we know that competitive markets improve outcomes across the board.

In the food industry this has already happened. If you look on a packet of crisps, it will show you how many calories there are, how much salt as well as a whole host of other nutritional information. According to this report, the US is going to start labelling GMO foods with a smiley face. 

Because of this, consumers are able to make choices and we are seeing a downward trend in calorie consumption. However, we don’t do this in a lot of other markets, including the energy industry.

With the energy industry, it is difficult for consumers to get information about the product that they are buying. Consumers are using comparison sites, which help to an extent, but unless each utility company is researched, it is tricky.

This is where policy makers can come in, and it could act as a nudge mechanism for consumers.

YouGov surveyed 2,000 UK consumers and found that consumers would pay on average up to 10 per cent more for a sustainable product. The same report, which can be found here, found that 40 per cent of consumers already consider the sustainability of the product when they buy.

This is where we can reform the energy industry. Not with price caps like Theresa May and Jeremy Corbyn have put forward, which would only serve to reduce the supply from smaller energy providers. 

Instead, we could compel energy providers to produce some sort of guidance for the consumer regarding the sustainability of the product. Which countries are the main producers of the energy? Is it sustainable? What method of extraction was used to get the energy? That type of thing. 

Posted in Op-eds | Tagged and | 7 Comments

Better for Business, Better for Britain

According to this ONS report, net investment in the UK is much weaker in comparison to other Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) nations. When we look at non-government expenditure on net investment, the UK is ranked as the lowest of any OECD nation.

Obviously, this is bad news. We keep hearing about the productivity puzzle and how we can solve it. If we can solve this issue of low investment, we can make some progress in achieving the productivity growth that the OBR forecast at the Spring Statement 2018.

Solving the productivity crisis will lead to higher wages and a growing economy. Both of these will help answer other questions such as how can we get more people onto the housing ladder?

Posted in News and Op-eds | 70 Comments
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