Colin Hay’s commencement lecture – entitled ‘Brexistential Crisis? Making Sense of British Politics after Brexit’ – was delivered to an engaged audience of students and staff of the University of Sheffield on Thursday 16 March.
Starting with a contextualisation of Brexit, his presentation drew on the final chapter of Developments in British Politics 10, published last November. He focused initially on how British politics has changed in the 33 years since the first edition of this book was published in 1983. He suggested that the result of the referendum was exceptional in that it was the largest number of votes for anything in UK history. The turnout for the referendum was 72.2% and 51.9% of those voting voted to leave. Colin went on to consider the reasons for the ‘Leave win’, arguing that the outcome represented the failure of a certain style of politics and the rejection of ‘expert-ocracy’ and ‘elite parternalism’ (“the EU is good for you because we tell you so”).
The second part of his presentation addressed the economic consequences of Brexit, including a worsening of the terms of trade, a reduction in the supply of skilled labour and the likely lessening of inward Foreign Direct Investment. As for the political consequences, the effect of Britain’s prospective withdrawal from the EU is already being felt with the growing threat of the break-up of the United Kingdom. It is also possible, he suggested, that the May government may be pushed towards the further ‘Anglo-liberalisation’ of an already failing Anglo-liberal growth model.
Many good questions were asked by members in the Q&A that followed the lecture.
You can access the slides of the lecture here and watch the lecture below.
Are we locked into a global race to the bottom on tax? What does this mean for inclusive growth? These were just two of the questions discussed at SPERI’s latest event in Parliament with the All-Party Parliamentary Group on Inclusive Growth.
The event, which took place on 14 March and was co- organised by the APPG, SPERI and Oxfam, was in response to growing concerns from major NGOs, international organisations and governments about ‘tax spillover’ effects – or how one country’s tax policy impacts another country’s tax base, tax policy and economic activity. We were joined by a range of leading tax campaigners, researchers and politicians who led the debate with expert contributions.
Andrew Baker (Professorial Fellow at SPERI) and Richard Murphy (Professor of Practice in International Political Economy at City University) presented the key findings of their new SPERI report for the APPG on ‘tax spillover’ (download it here). The report sets out a new framework for calculating the economic damage of a global race to the bottom on tax. At the event Andrew and Richard argued that the whole debate on tax needs reframing. Read their latest blog on this issue here.
Meg Hillier MP, Chair of the House of Commons Public Accounts Committee, outlined the work of her committee in calling for greater tax transparency and her work to convene the Global Tax Transparency Summit, which was held in London in December 2016. Meg argued that whilst we can question whether there is a global race to the bottom on tax between states, when it comes to the tax affairs of many large multi-national corporations like Amazon and Google the suspicion is that many are already at the bottom. However this is very difficult to know because of the lack of transparency regarding the tax affairs of large global corporations.
Tim Livesey, Head of Policy and Advocacy at Oxfam, highlighted Oxfam’s important research in this area and the crucial role that members of the public have in putting pressure on policymakers to do more to create a fairer, more transparent and equitable policy framework on tax.
Liam Byrne MP, Chair of the APPG, argued that tax is about much than revenue raising. It is an instrument in broader economic and social policy and so is at the heart of the inclusive growth debate.
The huge interest in the event highlights how quickly tax and its spillover effects are rising up the political agenda. SPERI researchers and the APPG will continue to focus on this issue and continue the debate in this hugely important area of policy.
The Industrial Strategy Commission was formally launched on Monday March 6th at a packed event at the Royal Society in London.
The Commission which is led jointly by SPERI and policy@manchester is an authoritative inquiry into the development of a new, long-term industrial strategy for the UK. Dr Craig Berry, Deputy Director of SPERI, and Professor Richard Jones, SPERI Associate Fellow and Professor of Physics and former Pro-Vice-Chancellor for Research and Innovation, are members of the Commission team. Tom Hunt, Policy Research Officer at SPERI, is managing the Commission’s work.
At the launch on Monday Richard Jones, a Fellow of the Royal Society, welcomed everyone to the launch before handing over to Dame Kate Barker, Chairman of the Commission. Dame Kate outlined the aims and vision behind the Commission and encouraged the audience to submit evidence to the Commission.
Three distinguished guest speakers Carolyn Fairbairn, Director General of the CBI, Juergen Maier, Chief Executive of Siemens UK, and Professor Philip Nelson, Chief Executive of the Engineering & Physical Sciences Research Council and Chair of Research Councils UK then spoke to share their expert perspectives on what a new industrial strategy should entail.
Professor Diane Coyle, member of the Commission, then chaired a Q&A session and the panel responded to a wide range of questions and comments from the audience. Professor Luke Georghiou, Vice-President for Research and Innovation at the University of Manchester closed the event before a drinks reception was held.
The capacity launch of the Commission was attended by Members of Parliament, civil servants, national journalists, university researchers, representatives from leading businesses, research institutes and thinktanks, and members of the public.
Follow @IndStrategyComm on Twitter to see tweets, photos and videos from the launch event.
The launch of the Commission was covered by The Times and a comment piece by Kate Barker was published in the Financial Times.
Are we locked into a global ‘race to the bottom’ on tax? And what does this mean for inclusive growth? Concerns are growing that corporate tax cuts in the developed world are triggering a race to the bottom on corporation tax cuts in the developing world – and the issue is quickly rising up the political agenda.
On Tuesday 14 March SPERI will discuss these issues in Parliament at a joint event with the All-Party Parliamentary Group on Inclusive Growth and Oxfam. The event is the latest to be organised as part of SPERI’s new partnership with the APPG on Inclusive Growth.
A new research paper on ‘tax spillover’ by Professor Andrew Baker, who leads SPERI’s Financial, Monetary and Tax Futures research theme, and Professor Richard Murphy (City University) will be presented at the event by Andrew. The research paper will be published in advance.
Other speakers at the event will include:
- Meg Hillier MP, Chair of the House of Commons Public Accounts Committee
- Nicholas Shaxson, journalist, investigator and author of Treasure Islands: Tax Havens and the Men who Stole the World
- Tim Livesey, Oxfam Head of Government Relations
The event will take place between 18.30-20.00pm on Tuesday 14 March in the Wilson Room in Portcullis House, Parliament.
Places are free to book and you can register here. Please aim to arrive 15 minutes before the start of the event to allow time to pass through security at Portcullis House.
Over 400 people braved the rain on Friday night to listen to Will Hutton, one of the most eminent political economists in Britain.
In the grand setting of Firth Hall, Tony Payne co-Director of SPERI introduced the event and highlighted how Will Hutton had predicted back in 2011 the rise in protectionism and the imminent trade conflict between the US and China before leaving the stage to Professor Andrew Gamble.
Andrew’s first question to Will shed light on his journey from stockbroker to journalist. His time as a stockbroker in the 1970s made him realise the UK’s ‘vulture-like capitalist model’ which shaped the direction of his future work. Will Hutton is the author of 11 books with the most renowned being ‘The State We’re In’. In this book he argues that the free market economic model has been detrimental to social cohesion by creating one of the lowest paid workforces and the highest paid executives in Europe.
At Friday’s event Will stated that ‘we are living through a 21 Century political coup by the right’. He recognised that Blair and Brown failed to challenge vested interests of the elite but also critiqued Jeremy Corbyn’s leadership of the Labour Party. He had strong words about Brexit too calling it ‘the closest to a catastrophe that any developed country has inflicted upon itself’.
Speaking of Donald Trump, Hutton gave a chilling view of the consequences of Trump’s government on global trade and peace in the Middle East and the South Pacific. On the French Presidential elections, Will predicts a victory by Emmanuel Macron.
There was no shortage of questions in Q&A: the NHS, artificial intelligence and Basic Income were some of the issues covered.
You can listen to the full audio of the evening or watch Andrew Gamble in conversation with Will Hutton below.
Thank you to everyone who attended the event, asked questions and engaged with the debate on social media. You can read the storify here. Special thanks go to our volunteers, Sofia, Hannah, Ines and Sabrina and to Blackwells bookshop for displaying Will Hutton’s books.
The launch of a special section of the latest edition of the Political Quarterly entitled ‘The Politics of Devolution in England’, hosted by SPERI on Thursday 23 February 2017, provided the setting for a much needed debate on the opportunities and challenges of devolution across Yorkshire.
Arianna Giovannini (De Montfort University; SPERI Honorary Research Fellow) and Andrew Mycock (University of Huddersfield), guest editors of PQ special section, gave an overview of the latest developments and shed light on the issues related to the government’s piecemeal approach to devolution. They argued that the case of Yorkshire epitomises the problems that can be seen in the devolution process across England. The recent set-backs with the Sheffield City Region Devolution Deal, issues related to the role of elected mayors and public engagement, and the simple fact that, for the time being, no local authorities in Yorkshire will get a ‘Devo Deal’ seem to suggest that, beyond rhetoric, devolution is still part of an un-codified, ‘muddled’ process based on a centrally orchestrated patchwork of spatial and governance ‘fixes’ that lack a clear roadmap.
These themes were also picked up by James Reed (Political editor of the Yorkshire Post). James gave his views on the highs and lows of the devolution process emphasising the difficulties of getting citizens involved as well as the urgent need to get the debate going, so as to make a break through in the region and ensure that Yorkshire is not left at the margins of the process.
The event brought together academics, policy-makers and media representatives with an interest in the process which led to a lively Q&A session.
All the articles included in the section of the Political Quarterly that was launched at the event are currently available on Open Access and can be downloaded at this link: http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1111/poqu.2016.87.issue-4/issuetoc#group5.
The team was chaired by Lord Kerslake and sought to undertake an ‘independent review of the Treasury to consider how it should work to promote and manage more sustainable growth in a fairer and more equal society’. The review was commissioned by the Shadow Chancellor of the Exchequer, John McDonnell MP.
SPERI’s evidence is quoted twice in the report – at pp. 22 and 23.
The report can be seen at: http://www.kerslakereview.co.uk
SPERI’s evidence, which was prepared by Craig Berry, Andrew Gamble, Colin Hay, Tom Hunt and Tony Payne, can be seen at: http://speri.dept.shef.ac.uk/wp-content/uploads/2016/03/Brief-21-Reforming-the-Treasury.pdf
SPERI’s new partnership with the All-Party Parliamentary Group on Inclusive Growth was launched last night (February 21st) with a highly successful first event in Parliament.
Professor Tony Payne, SPERI’s Co-Director, was part of a panel of leading UK and international policymakers and thinkers who came together to discuss the state of the debate on inclusive growth. The line-up of panellists also included Gabriela Ramos, OECD Chief of Staff, Sherpa to the G20 and coordinator of the OECD Inclusive Growth Initiative; Rick Samans, Head of the Centre for the Global Agenda and Member of the Managing Board at the World Economic Forum; Charlotte Alldritt, Director of the RSA Inclusive Growth Commission and Michael Jacobs, Director of the IPPR Commission on Economic Justice.
Liam Byrne MP, Chair of the APPG on Inclusive Growth, chaired the debate and oversaw a Q&A session involving the audience which was comprised of parliamentarians, researchers and members of the public. Liam and Tony outlined the shared aims of SPERI and the APPG which form the foundation of our new partnership (find out more here) before Tony presented his views on the inclusive growth debate.
Tony argued that to secure inclusive economic growth will entail much more than just tinkering with the old ‘exclusive growth’ model. It demands that a brand new model of capitalism must be built both in Britain and internationally. He also set out the need for the debate on inclusive growth to draw on and be informed by new academic research.
Video from the event will be available soon. You can catch up on tweets from the event and keep in touch with the APPG on twitter by following them at @APPGIncluGro
Through our new partnership with the APPG SPERI will be organising a programme of events in Parliament and publishing new research papers. This week the APPG published ‘The State of the Debate 2017’ a series of essays that begins to set out the foundations for a new consensus in political economy around inclusive growth. Our Co-Director Professor Colin Hay and Dr Hannah Lambie-Mumford, research fellow at SPERI, are amongst 10 contributors to the report which also includes essays by cross-party parliamentarians, academics and international policymakers. Download the report here.
SPERI Co-Director Colin Hay speaks to the Max Plank Institut for the Study of Societies in Cologne about British Politics after Brexit. Colin reflects on how the vote for Brexit was allowed to happen, its wider implications (both political and economic) and the seismic changes through which British politics is currently being remade. Listen to the podcast in full.
We are very pleased to welcome Sabrina Arcuri who will be spending the next five months with us at SPERI.
Sabrina completed a BSc in Environmental Economics and an MSc in local sustainable development and management at the Faculty of Economics of the University of Pisa, with a thesis on the analysis of the environmental performance of local and global food chains.
Her current research looks at food assistance in high income countries as an instrument to tackle food insecurity, with a specific focus on the practices of food assistance carried out in Italy. Part of her work has been done under the framework of TRANSMANGO project, which aims to explore food system vulnerabilities in the face of global drivers of change and to understand potential pathways towards a better food and nutrition security (http://www.transmango.eu/).
You can contact Sabrina by email: firstname.lastname@example.org.
The Industrial Strategy Commission, which will be led jointly by the Sheffield Political Economy Research Institute (SPERI) and policy@manchester, is an authoritative inquiry into the development of a new, long-term industrial strategy for the UK.
Dr Craig Berry, Deputy Director of SPERI, and Professor Richard Jones, SPERI Associate Fellow and Professor of Physics and former Pro-Vice-Chancellor for Research and Innovation, are members of the Commission team. Find out more about the Commissioners.
The Commission, chaired by leading British economist Dame Kate Barker, will be formally launched on Monday 6th March at the Royal Society in London between 6.00-7.30pm. Full details of the launch and how to attend will be announced soon.
The Commission will provide evidence-based policy recommendations for the development of a new industrial strategy. An open call for evidence has been announced. It will engage with leading experts, businesses and organisations from a range of sectors and industries – and will cover key themes, including new technology, science and innovation, the geography of growth, infrastructure and the challenges and opportunities of climate change and energy transitions. It will publish its Key Findings in July 2017 with a final report published in September 2017.
Dr Craig Berry:
“The Industrial Strategy Commission is a significant and exciting new initiative by SPERI and Policy@Manchester. There is a major opportunity to shape long-term policy and over the coming months the Commission will work with businesses, policymakers and leading experts to help to develop a new industrial strategy for the UK.”
Dame Kate Barker, Chair of The Industrial Strategy Commission:
“We welcome the emerging consensus on industrial strategy, and the Government’s new green paper, but significant questions remain. What are the strengths and weaknesses of the UK economy, and future challenges and opportunities that an industrial strategy should address? What is the right relationship between the state, business and other bodies including universities? And what lessons from past UK experience and international comparisons should be learnt?
“The Industrial Strategy Commission has been set up to answer these questions. We invite all interested parties to share with us information, ideas and comments about industrial strategy and get involved with our work.”
The five Commissioners are:
- Dame Kate Barker (Chair), one of Britain’s foremost economists and a member of the Bank of England’s Monetary Policy Committee between 2001-2010
- Dr Craig Berry, Deputy Director of SPERI
- Professor Diane Coyle, Co-Director of Policy@Manchester
- Professor Richard Jones, Professor of Physics and former Pro-Vice-Chancellor for Research and Innovation at the University of Sheffield
- Professor Andrew Westwood, Associate Vice President for Public Affairs at the University of Manchester and Co-Director of Policy@Manchester
The Industrial Strategy Commission timeline
- Open call for evidence published – Thursday 2nd February. Full details here.
- Launch event – The Commission will be formally launched on Monday 6th March at the Royal Society in London between 6.00-7.30pm. Full details of the launch and how to attend will be available soon.
- Evidence submission deadline – Tuesday 2nd May.
- Key Findings report – to be published in July.
- Final report – to be published in September.
Tom Hunt, Policy Research Officer at the Sheffield Political Economy Research Institute (SPERI) will manage the Industrial Strategy Commission’s work. Contact Tom at email@example.com.
Earlier this month SPERI launched a new partnership with the All-Party Parliamentary Group on Inclusive Growth. On Tuesday 21st February SPERI and the APPG will hold our first joint event in Parliament when a panel of leading UK and international thinkers will come together to present views on the ‘state of the inclusive growth debate’.
How to achieve inclusive growth is fast emerging as a key issue in politics, academia, business, faith groups and civil society the world over. The panel will discuss policies and ideas about how to tackle rising inequality and secure a new consensus on inclusive growth before taking part in a Q&A. Join us to share your views and contribute to the debate.
Speakers will include:
- Gabriela Ramos, OECD Chief of Staff, G20 sherpa and coordinator of the OECD’s work on inclusive growth
- Michael Jacobs, Director of the Commission on Economic Justice, IPPR
- Charlotte Alldritt, Inclusive Growth Commission, Director of Public Services and Communities, RSA
- Rick Samans. Head of the Centre for the Global Agenda, Member of the Managing Board, World Economic Forum
The discussion will be chaired by Liam Byrne MP, Chair of the APPG, and our Co-Director Tony Payne will talk about the new partnership between SPERI and the APPG.
The event will take place between 18.30-20.00pm on Tuesday 21 February in the Wilson Room in Portcullis House, Parliament.
Please aim to arrive 15 minutes before the start of the event to allow time to pass through security at Portcullis House.
Tom Hunt, SPERI’s Policy Research Officer, leads our work with the APPG. For further information about our new partnership contact Tom on firstname.lastname@example.org.
European Union Financial Regulation, Banking Union, Capital Markets Union and the UK – New SPERI Paper
As part of the project on Diverging Capitalisms with FEPS and Policy Network, we are pleased to publish a new paper by Professor Lucia Quaglia which analyses the EU reforms in three key financial policy areas – financial regulation, Banking Union and Capital Markets Union – and the role played by the preferences and influence of the United Kingdom (UK) within them. She argues that the UK has played a variety of roles – ‘foot-dragger’, ‘fence-sitter’ and ‘pace-setter’ – in the policy areas under discussion. The (at times considerable) British influence was geared towards the attainment of preferences that were shaped by domestic politics and political economy, primarily the interests of the financial services industry and the City of London.
Download SPERI Paper No. 38: European Union Financial Regulation, Banking Union, Capital Markets Union and the UK.
Will Hutton is one of the most eminent political economists in Britain. He is a writer and journalist and was formerly editor-in-chief for The Observer. He is currently Principal of Hertford College, Oxford, and Chair of the Big Innovation Centre, an initiative emanating from the Work Foundation (formerly the Industrial Society). He was chief executive of the Work Foundation from 2000 to 2008.
He writes a regular column for The Observer and occasionally for The Financial Times and appears regularly on television and radio commentating on economic, financial and business issues. His most recent TV documentary, ‘The Selling of Britain’, was screened on Channel 4 in March 2015.
Will’s best-known book is probably The State We’re In., which was seen at the time as setting the scene for the Blair era and became one of the top-selling books on political economy in the whole post-war period. Since then he has published The State to Come, The Stakeholding Society: Writings on Politics and Economics, On the Edge: Essays on a Runaway World (with Anthony Giddens) and The Writing on the Wall: China and the West in the 21st Century. His most recent book, How Good We Can Be, was published in February 2015 and has been widely read and discussed.
Professor Andrew Gamble, Professorial Fellow at SPERI, will engage Will Hutton ‘in conversation’ about the state of the British and global political economy, Brexit, populism, transatlantic relations and our hopes for the future… A Q&A session will follow.
The Resolution Foundation launched “Forging ahead or falling behind: Devolution and the future of living standards in the Sheffield City Region” yesterday evening in the Sheffield Town Hall. Its report analyses economic inequalities between cities and within cities and was presented by Stephen Clarke, Research and Policy Analyst at the Resolution Foundation. He showed how the Sheffield City Region lags behind in various sectors but mostly in terms of hourly pay.
Guest discussants – Dan Jarvis, MP for Barnsley Central; Emma Stone, Director of Policy and Research at Joseph Rowntree Foundation (JRF); Julie Kenny CBE DL, Entrepreneur; and Craig Berry, Deputy Director at SPERI – offered their views on the strengths and weaknesses of the South Yorkshire economy. There was agreement around the lack of clarity on how a Metro mayor would help boost the economy given that devolution powers would still be minimal. Julie Kenny emphasised that it was down to local leaders to support businesses, and to business leaders to invest in their workforces and pay decent wages.
The consensus was that the South Yorkshire economy had a lot of potential, especially with the development of the advanced manufacturing sector on the former site of Orgreave. This progress shows that, with bold and courageous investments, the future prospects of the area can be much improved. The challenge is to make sure that future growth is inclusive.
The event concluded with a lively Q&A session chaired by Torsten Bell, Director of the Resolution Foundation.
Sheffield Star, 20 January 2017: Sheffield named ‘low pay capital’ of the UK
SPERI has today launched a new partnership with the All-Party Parliamentary Group on Inclusive Growth – a cross-party group of senior parliamentarians – to develop solutions for a more inclusive and more equal economy.
The APPG on Inclusive Growth is backed by a range of influential individuals and organisations across politics, business, trade unions, finance, churches and faith groups and civil society, including the Archbishop of Canterbury, the City of London Corporation and Oxfam.
In a joint article in today’s Guardian the APPG’s Chair, Liam Byrne MP and Professor Colin Hay, Co-Director of SPERI set out our shared agenda. They argue that we urgently need a new economic consensus and ‘the sooner we find it, the sooner we can reject once and for all the tired and flawed orthodoxy of shareholder value and trickle-down economics that took shape with such force nearly fifty years ago’.
The partnership between SPERI and the APPG will seek to develop new research that furthers the intellectual and policy debate about the nature of inclusive growth.
The APPG will hold a programme of events in Parliament, including seminars, keynote lectures and conferences throughout 2017. The programme will begin with events on ‘the state of the inclusive growth debate’, tax reform, long-term investing and industrial strategy. The APPG aims to run the OECD’s first parliamentary network conference on inclusive growth later in the year.
Professor Colin Hay:
‘Western societies have been characterised in recent decades, and particularly since the crisis of 2008, by a profound widening in social inequality. The challenge is to understand why that is so and what can be done practically to achieve a stable and sustainable model of economic development that will reverse this trend. We look forward to working with the All-Party Parliamentary Group to lead that debate and to build practical solutions to this most urgent problem.’
Liam Byrne MP:
‘Action on inequality is simply overdue. We know the problem but now it’s time to stop the agonising and start answering the question about just what needs to change. And the faster we build a consensus on action, the faster change will happen. That means we need the right people in the room hammering out solutions as to how we mend the market.’
Tom Hunt, SPERI’s Policy Research Officer, will be leading our work with the APPG. For further information about our new partnership contact Tom on email@example.com and sign up to receive news about the APPG at www.inclusivegrowth.co.uk
A new Paper published today by SPERI investigates an under-theorised contradiction in the political economy of the Green State; a Robyn Eckersley concept which fosters a debate on how state capacity and legitimacy can be pragmatically utilised in order to realise environmental protection. The contradiction identified centres upon the operationalisation of an interventionist state, the move beyond economic growth, and the deference afforded to the ceteris paribus conventions of state financing. The author argues that the three cannot co-exist harmoniously, given the ramifications of moving beyond growth for the fiscal capacity of the state. Therefore, there is a need to go further than even Eckersley does in re-politicising and challenging capitalist conventions. Specifically, Eckersley’s own critical constructivist approach is invoked to interrogate the capitalist conventions that constitute the constraints surrounding state financing, such as the de-politicised production of money and the viability of debt relations.
The University of Sheffield Faculty of Social Sciences has funding for at least 23 PhD scholarships for 2017/18 entry. These include Doctoral Academy scholarships, with further scholarships likely to be available through the ESRC White Rose Doctoral Training Partnership competition.
SPERI offers a dynamic and stimulating research environment in which students work in the open-plan SPERI office at the heart of the University of Sheffield campus alongside SPERI’s staff. We seek ambitious, talented graduates or postgraduates who aspire to contribute to world-leading research and to make a difference in the world.
If you have a doctoral research proposal covering one of the areas below from a political economy perspective and wish to discuss it with a member of SPERI’s staff, please email firstname.lastname@example.org in the first instance and the most appropriate member of our team will get back to you.
- Cities, Environment and Liveability
- Security, Conflict and Justice
- Education Childhood and Youth
- Data, Communication and New Technologies
- Wellbeing, Health and Communities
- Sustainable Growth, Management and Economic Productivity
- Civil Society, Development and Democracy
The deadline for scholarship applications is 5.00pm on 1 February 2017.
For full details of the University of Sheffield PhD scholarships and to apply online, please click here.