Post-Brexit immigration and skills policy

In the context of this week’s report from the Migration Advisory Committee (set up to advise on immigration policy post-Brexit),  it’s worth outlining the nature of European migration to the UK and the implications of the MAC proposals. By the end of 2016 there were 2.2 million working EU migrants -7% of the labour force. … Continue reading Post-Brexit immigration and skills policy

Towards a new Labour State

John McDonnell’s recent address to the TUC demonstrates Labour’s commitment to challenging neo-liberal ideas about the labour market. https://www.tuc.org.uk/speeches/shadow-chancellor-john-mcdonnells-speech-tuc-congress-2018 For the last three decades both conservative and social democratic governments across the globe have deregulated labour markets, arguing that increasing the ‘flexibility’ of workers will make them more productive, increase economic growth and bring greater … Continue reading Towards a new Labour State

Higher Education: a degree of difference

With few alternatives available after A-levels, young people will head off to university in huge numbers this month. From 2015, government lifted the cap on the number of students each institution can admit, with the knock-on effect being that many Russell universities are now accepting students  previously aiming for ‘middle’ institutions – if necessary, by … Continue reading Higher Education: a degree of difference

Exam stress – the ‘value’ of GCSE

Another set of public examination results. This time round, after years of bleating about falling standards, media attention has focussed on the stress caused to young people - this year’s cohort being the first to  endure the new subject requirements. Many on the Left correctly argue that education has become ‘commodified’. But anyone trying to … Continue reading Exam stress – the ‘value’ of GCSE

How should Labour finance education and public services?

While opposition to Tory cuts continues, Labour has  huge support for its commitment to restoring school budgets. At the same time however, the Party leadership also promises to ‘balance the books’ and maintain ‘fiscal credibility’.  By this it means that over the course of a five-year Parliament, current  (day to day)  expenditure  will be largely … Continue reading How should Labour finance education and public services?

Cutting, or ending tuition fees?

In the context of a ‘review’ and a pending government announcement on HE funding, City investment broker Hargreaves Lansdown has put its financial and accounting expertise to more benevolent purposes. https://www.hl.co.uk/about-us/press/press-releases/cutting-tuition-fees-and-loan-interest-rates-is-no-help-for-the-average-student Remarkably it finds that neither a reduction of tuition fees to £6000 from the current £9000 plus per annum or a cut in interest … Continue reading Cutting, or ending tuition fees?