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Blogs by Ryan Bourne

Ryan joined the Centre for Policy Studies in January 2011, having previously worked for a year at the economic consultancy firm Frontier Economics.

  • Bank competition and Vickers

    Bank competition and Vickers

    | Economy
    On Monday, the Vickers Commission  made its preliminary recommendations on potential banking reform. There is much to welcome, in particular an increased focus on the need for more competition in the retail banking sector, as proposed by Andrea Leadsom . Likewise Howard Flight was making Vickers’ case for ...
  • The Rally Against Debt

    The Rally Against Debt

    | Economy
    When the 'Rally Against Debt' idea was first established, I was sceptical about attending. It would have felt odd marching as public sector workers lost their jobs, I thought, even though I knew full well (and have long argued) that the cuts are entirely necessary in reducing the budget ...
  • AV? No, no, no.

    AV? No, no, no.

    | Constitution & Democracy
    This week, the No2AV campaign shifted its attention to a new theme – ‘One person, one vote’ .This comes after 25 leading historians, including David Starkey and CPS board member Niall Ferguson, wrote to The Times claiming that a move to the AV system would mean that ...
  • Abolish NICs....properly

    Abolish NICs....properly

    | Economy
    A simple tax system is a pillar of any long-term strategy for growth. This is why I was delighted by the pre-Budget rumours of the possible merging of NICs with income tax.As David Martin outlined in Abolish NICs : NICs are complicated, create perverse incentives and are by ...
  • Enterprise Zones

    Enterprise Zones

    | Economy
    The Chancellor George Osborne recently announced that he would look to create at least 10 ‘Enterprise Zones’ in the forthcoming budget. These were no doubt at least partly inspired by the Enterprise Zone policy of Margaret Thatcher, which used localised supply-side policies to eliminate dereliction and entice businesses to ...
  • If I could turn back time

    If I could turn back time

    | Public Services
    Following on from last week's blog post on cuts, I have been reviewing the projected scale of government spending in each department by 2014/15.I thought it would be good to share the data with you to show the scale of real spending across different departments by 2014/15 - and how far this takes the area back ...
  • Smoke and mirrors in the cuts debate

    Smoke and mirrors in the cuts debate

    | Economy
    The quality of the debate around spending cuts has been tarnished by excessive scare-mongering on the one hand, and clever statistics on the other.If you believe groups like 'False Economy' you will regard cuts as resulting in decimated public services - whilst some Conservative MPs and commentators ...
  • The Minimum Wage and Youth Unemployment

    The Minimum Wage and Youth Unemployment

    | Economy
    This morning John Prescott led a Twitter counter-attack against the Adam Smith Institute, which had suggested that the national minimum wage for young people should be abolished as a means of helping to cure the UK's youth unemployment problem.Their argument was simple: high youth unemployment is a symptom of ...
  • Tax Policy for Growth

    Tax Policy for Growth

    | Economy
    Whilst scouring through some academic literature this morning, I came across an interesting paper in The Economic Journal on "Tax Policy For Economic Recovery And Growth".Reviewing historical OECD data, it comes to some important conclusions about the best tax reform policies (with any changes revenue neutral) to enhance short and ...
  • Francis Maude has converted me to the Big Society agenda

    Francis Maude has converted me to the Big Society agenda

    | Social Policy
    Whilst most of you were out last night gazing into your lover’s eyes over a candle-lit pasta dish, I found myself attending a Big Society debate in the Grand Committee Room of the House of Commons.  I have to admit, I almost didn’t bother. The last thing I wanted to ...
  • How high's inflation, mama? 4% and rising...

    How high's inflation, mama? 4% and rising...

    | Economy
    The Bank of England's inflation headache is looking increasingly like a migraine. CPI inflation is up to 4% in the year to January, and the more accurate RPI measure has increased from 4.7% to 5.1%, with the increases thought to be driven by commodity prices and the VAT hike. Economic ...
  • Is the 'Yes To Fairer Votes' campaign encouraging BBC bias?

    Is the 'Yes To Fairer Votes' campaign encouraging BBC bias?

    | Constitution & Democracy
    Whilst searching the web yesterday, I came across a very odd blog post on the Yes To Fairer Votes website.It was titled ‘Standing up to the BBC: 10,000 voices and counting’, and was a petition aimed to badger the BBC into “using the word "reform," when making ...
  • Boris and the 50p rate

    Boris and the 50p rate

    | Economy
    A Lib Dem peer yesterday accused Boris Johnson of "rattling the begging bowl for the starving rich,” following his call for the Chancellor to scrap the 50p rate of income tax in the upcoming budget.The exchange between the two pretty much sums up the politics of this controversial tax ...
  • Licence to thrill

    Licence to thrill

    | Media & Technology
    As a free-market conservative, the BBC has long troubled me. There is no doubt that it produces some excellent programmes. In fact, it is usually my first port of call when I switch on in the evenings. And in all honesty – compared to my ...
  • Feeling snowed under?

    Feeling snowed under?

    | Economy
    Today’s  ONS growth figures come as quite a shock – and coupled with recent inflation and employment statistics, suggest a gloomy picture for the UK economy. Forecasters had predicted that growth would be somewhere between 0.2-0.6% for the fourth quarter of 2010, whereas the ONS’s provisional ...