SPERI presents at Fabian Society conference in Sheffield

SPERI professorial fellow Andrew Gamble and research fellow Scott Lavery contributed to the Sheffield Fabians conference on Saturday 29th April.

Andrew spoke on a panel alongside Lord Maurice Glasman (Labour Peer) and Paul Blomfield (Sitting MP, Sheffield Central) on Brexit and its implications.

Scott spoke on a panel alongside Richard Caborn (former trade minister, adviser to Advanced Manufacturing Park) and Leigh Bramall (former Deputy Leader, Sheffield City Council) on regional economies and investment.

You can listen to all of the panels at the conference here.

2 May 2017 by
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New video interview: Professor Tony Payne on inclusive growth

Professor Tony Payne, co-director of SPERI, recently sat down with Liam Byrne MP, Chair of the All-Party Parliamentary Group on Inclusive Growth, to discuss the importance of inclusive growth.

Watch the video here:

Find out more about SPERI’s partnership with the APPG on Inclusive Growth here. Sign up to receive updates from the APPG at

26 April 2017 by
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Labour and work in the modern economy | New SPERI and openDemocracy collaboration

SPERI and openDemocracy have launched a new collaboration to explore the themes of labour rights and worker organisation in the modern economy.  Work for many people is changing fast with concerns about low pay, casualisation and insecurity central to current policy debates. Issues and questions connected to the ‘gig economy’ and ‘platform-working’ have increasingly come to dominate academic and policy discussions about the nature of work in the modern economy.

Our new collaboration with openDemocracy will explore these themes and will be led by Tom Hunt, SPERI’s Policy Research officer. The first part of the collaboration will see a new series of articles on these themes published jointly on the SPERI Comment blog and openDemocracy’s Beyond Slavery and Trafficking hub. The hub explores issues of labour, work and exploitation and was founded and is co-edited by Genevieve LeBaron,  SPERI Research Fellow and leader of our research programme on ‘Labour and Work in the Global Political Economy’.

Tom is curating the new series and has written the first article in the series which you can read here.

Over the coming weeks the series will feature a range of contributions from expert authors from organisations including the International Labour Organisation, the Resolution Trust and the New Economics Foundation.  Contributions will also come from leading academics working in this field and crucially from those in the labour movement who represent today’s workforce.  They will include long-established pro-labour organisations like the Trades Union Congress as well as smaller, newer organisations like the Independent Workers Union of Great Britain (IWGB).  The authors will examine questions such as:

  • How are trade unions and new pro-worker organisations, in the UK and around the world, adapting to the ‘gig economy’?
  • What lessons can UK workers and trade unions learn from alternative forms of worker representation around the world and new forms of organising?
  • How can technology be used by unions and workers to enhance rights and achieve pro-labour outcomes?
  • Do terms such as ‘employee, ‘self-employed’, ‘worker’ and ‘freelancer’ adequately describe today’s jobs and offer appropriate legal protections?
  • Are more flexible, non-standard forms of employment changing people’s attitudes towards work – especially younger workers entering the workforce today?

To find out more please contact Tom Hunt

7 April 2017 by
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Register for ‘Brexit and the environment: An opportunity or a threat?’

Registration are now open for a new public event on Brexit and the environment taking place on Friday 12 May 2017 at 5.30pm in the Diamond.

The EU has championed environmental causes, but it hasn’t been perfect. This event will look at whether the increased sovereignty post-Brexit will create a threat or an opportunity to achieve environmental goals. Join politicians, policy-makers and EU law experts to discuss whether the UK environment will be better off after Brexit.


  • Dr Apolline Roger, School of Law, The University of Sheffield
  • Paul Blomfield MP, Labour Member of Parliament for Sheffield Central
  • Kate Jennings, Head of Site Conservation Policy, RSPB
  • James Copeland, Environment and Land Use Adviser for the North East Region, National Farmers Union
  • Chaired by Daniel Bailey, SPERI

This event is part of the Festival of Debate:

5 April 2017 by
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SPERI holds policy roundtable to explore Brexit, Article 50 and the views of EU business

On Friday 31st March SPERI celebrated the publication of our latest Global Political Economy briefs by holding a policy roundtable event at the University of Sheffield. The roundtable, funded by the ESRC, “Understanding EU Business views on Brexit”, brought together a select group of representatives from academia, employer organisations, business and policy advocacy groups to discuss our latest briefs: ‘Frankfurt, Paris and Dublin: Post-Brexit Rivals to the City of London?’ and ‘EU Business Views on Brexit: Politics, Trade and Article 50’. The former brief on the City of London has been covered by the Guardian newspaper here.

Key speakers at the event included Alex Cobham (Chief Executive of the Tax Justice Network), Neil Foster (National Research and Policy Officer at the GMB union), Mick Moran (Professor of Government at the University of Manchester Business School) and Allie Renison (Head of Europe & Trade Policy at the Institute of Directors). The event was chaired by SPERI Associate Fellow Dr Desiree Fields from the University of Sheffield’s Department of Geography.

The roundtable was opened by SPERI co-director Professor Tony Payne before Dr Scott Lavery, the project leader, summarised the findings of the two new briefs. They argue that (a) powerful firms and business interest groups are likely to have a significant influence over the shape of the Article 50 negotiations and (b) that despite the widespread acknowledgement that the City of London is likely to remain dominant after Brexit, there is a consensus coming from Frankfurt, Paris and Dublin that opportunities exist for them to attract vulnerable sub-sectors from the City. Dr Fields then invited each speaker to share their thoughts on Brexit in general and on the SPERI policy briefings in particular, before opening up to a ‘roundtable’ format.

The panel noted that while Brexit had presented a moment of catharsis and an opportunity to ‘take stock’ of Britain’s industrial strategy considerable domestic and international barriers remained, with Brexit potentially amplifying already existing problems with the UK’s economic model. The panel also discussed how Brexit is likely to lead to sectoral divergence amongst the UK’s businesses with some areas of trade and commerce proving to be more resilient than others in the face of a potential loss to the single-market. Finally, the issue of deregulation of the City of London was discussed. While there was a general consensus that the UK’s exit from the EU could potentially result in a regulatory ‘race to the bottom’ there was a general feeling that Brexit would not result in a ‘bonfire of regulation’. Likewise, it was agreed that although there would be some kind regulatory equivalency adopted by City regulators post-Brexit this would not result in the adoption of exact standards but rather regulatory co-operation.

3 April 2017 by
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Book Launch of ‘The Political Economy of India’s Growth Episodes’

The Political Economy of India’s Growth Episodes‘ authored by Sabyasachi Kar and Kunal Sen and published in the SPERI Palgrave Pivot series was launched in New Dehli with a keynote speech by Dr Naushad Forbes, President of the Confederation of India Industry (CII). Read the coverage in the Asian Age: Post-Independence Growth gets a fresh perspective.

The book breaks down the last 65+ years of Indian development into several episodes of growth, providing a rich set of insights into the political economy of the Indian development process. The first of these episodes, running from the 1950s to 1992, was mostly characterised by economic stagnation, with a nascent recovery in the eighties. The second, covering the period 1993 to 2001, witnessed the first growth acceleration in the economy. A second acceleration ran from 2002 to 2010. The fourth and final episode started with the slowdown in 2010 and continues to this day. The book provides a theoretical framework that focuses on rent-structures, institutions and the polity and demonstrates how changes in these can explain the ups and downs of growth in India.

3 April 2017 by
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New SPERI Briefs: Understanding EU Business Views on Brexit

Two new SPERI Global Political Economy Briefs are published today. The first Brief, Frankfurt, Paris and Dublin: Post-Brexit Rivals to the City of London? assesses the strategic positioning of alternative financial centres in the aftermath of Brexit. It shows how three major rivals to the City are organising to attract ‘low hanging fruit’ from London.

Read coverage of the Brief in the Guardian: ‘EU financial centres vie to poach tens of thousands of City jobs

The second brief, EU Business Views on Brexit: Politics, Trade and Article 50 analyses the positions of key employer organisations within Germany, France and Ireland in relation to Brexit and their trading relationship with the UK.

Authored by Dr Scott Lavery and other SPERI researchers, the two briefings draw on a review of over 300 German, French and English language policy documents, policy papers and press briefings between the EU referendum in June 2016 and March 2017.

The Briefs draw a number of conclusions:

On the City of London and it’s EU rivals:

  • Although it is highly unlikely that alternative financial centres in the EU will replace the City of London as Europe’s premier financial centre, certain financial market activities are potentially vulnerable to relocation after Brexit.
  • Frankfurt, Paris and Dublin have all identified euro-denominated clearing, fintech, asset management and financial regulation as ‘low hanging fruit’ which could be relocated after Brexit.
  • Private and public sector actors within these alternative financial centres have taken concrete steps in order to benefit from Brexit. France has been particularly aggressive, making changes to its tax code and advancing programmes designed to draw in financial sector investment in the wake of Brexit.
  • Additionally, key actors in all three alternative financial centres are using Brexit as leverage to to agitate for pro-business tax cuts and regulatory reforms both domestically and at the EU level. The body representing Paris’ financial sector, for example, has called for a “competitiveness and attractiveness shock” to the French economy in light of Brexit, organised around corporation tax cuts and reductions in taxes on bankers’ pay.
On EU business views on trade with the UK and Article 50:

  • The EU Business Views on Brexit Brief identifies the five export sectors across Germany, France and Ireland which are most exposed to a worsening in the terms of trade with the UK.
  • There is evidence that businesses within these sectors – and business organisations more broadly are seeking to retain as close a trading relationship with the UK as is possible. There is little appetite for the UK to be ‘punished’ for its decision to leave the EU lest this impacts negatively on trade surpluses with the UK.
  • However, EU business groups are also clear that the UK should not receive ‘special treatment’ which compromises the integrity of the Single Market. German employer organisations in particular are concerned that excessive concessions to the UK could precipitate further instability within the EU.

3 April 2017 by
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Industrial Strategy Commission holds evidence session at the AMRC

On Wednesday 29 March the Industrial Strategy Commission, which is led jointly by SPERI, held an evidence session at Factory 2050, part of the Advanced Manufacturing Research Centre in Sheffield. The session was attended by 50 representatives of businesses in Sheffield City Region and by academics and policymakers.

Keynote speakers at the event were Julie Kenny CBE DL and Paul Houghton, two leading local business figures and board members of Sheffield City Region Local Enterprise Partnership. Paul and Julie shared their views on what a new industrial strategy should focus on. Paul argued that a new industrial strategy must have 4 key features: it must provide certainty for businesses; it must provide clarity for businesses; it must be entrepreneur-led and it must be focused on the needs and strengths of small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs). Julie stressed the importance of long-term investment in order to help SMEs grow and how she believes devolution is vital to ensuring a new industrial strategy is a success.

A wide ranging discussion then followed and attendees shared their views and ideas about what a new industrial strategy should focus on. Amongst others, the themes discussed included: how best to ensure new devolved powers are used to support industrial strategy aims; the opportunities and risks presented by Brexit; how to encourage a long-term investment mindset; how to improve procurement in the public and private sector to increase competition and value; the skills and investment needs of SMEs; the opportunities to improve health and social care by utilising the expertise of medical technology companies.

The event at the AMRC was just one of a series of events, meetings and evidence sessions that the Commission is holding in the coming weeks. These events will help to inform the Commission’s work and engage with the public, policymakers and key industry stakeholders. Find out more about upcoming evidence sessions and how you can attend. The next event is in Manchester on 4 April and will focus on health and social care.

All of the ideas and comments from the evidence session at the AMRC will be considered by the Commissioners and used to inform the Commission’s recommendations and analysis. Details of how to submit evidence to the Commission are available here. The submission deadline is 2nd May 2017.

The Industrial Strategy Commission is led jointly by SPERI and policy@manchester. It 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.

30 March 2017 by
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‘Brexit Britain’: Where does the UK growth model go from here? New Policy Brief published by SPERI, FEPS and Policy Network

We are pleased to publish the third Brief of a series drawing on the project ‘Diverging Capitalisms? Britain, the City of London and Europe’, jointly organised by FEPS, Policy Network and SPERI.

In this Brief Andrew Gamble and Scott Lavery, both of SPERI, offer a brief historical overview of the development of the UK growth model and the strategic orientation of British business groups. They outline how Brexit has problematised conventional economic and business strategies and the potential development trajectories for the British economy now that Article 50 has been triggered.

The findings presented in this Brief take the analysis developed as part of the workshop entitled ‘After Brexit: British and EU capitalisms at the crossroads?’ held in Brussels on March 24th 2017.

Download the Brief: ‘Brexit Britain’: Where does the UK growth model go from here?

30 March 2017 by
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4 May: ‘Generation Right’: watch the film and discuss Margaret Thatcher’s legacy

A rare screening of the 2015 documentary, ‘Generation Right’, will take place on Thursday 4 May at 18.00 in the Diamond at the University of Sheffield. It will then be followed by a panel discussion of the issues raised in the film involving a number of eminent speakers.

‘Generation Right’ shows how the UK has been profoundly changed by Margaret Thatcher’s long period of office as Prime Minister. The documentary, directed by Michelle Coomber and based on the research of Colin Hay, Will Jennings, Emily Gray and Stephen Farrall, brilliantly mixes archive footage and interviews with key political figures of that era, including Michael Howard, Douglas Hurd and David Blunkett. The film captures the profound sea change orchestrated by Thatcher with a view to creating ‘a climate of opportunity and enterprise’ and explores in full the consequences of many of the key ‘Thatcherite’ policies of the 1980s.

The screening of the documentary, which lasts 41 minutes, will be followed by a panel discussion and then Q&A. We are delighted to announce that the panel will be made up of: The Rt Hon David Blunkett MP; Baroness Lister of Burtersett, Professor of Social Policy at Loughborough; Andy Beckett, journalist and author of ‘Promised You A Miracle: Why 1980-82 Made Modern Britain’; Andrew Gamble, SPERI Professorial Fellow; and Stephen Farrall, Professor of Criminology at the University of Sheffield and one of the key figures involved in the making of the film.

Generation Right Trailer from MEDINA FILMS on Vimeo.

28 March 2017 by
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‘Diverging Capitalisms, Part 3: After Brexit: British and EU capitalisms at the crossroads?’

On Friday March 24, on the eve of the 60th anniversary of the Treaty of Rome, many of the SPERI team gathered in Brussels to participate in a one-day workshop entitled ‘After Brexit: British and EU capitalisms at the crossroads?’ alongside an esteemed assortment of fellow scholars, policy-makers, political advisors, and think tank colleagues.

The workshop, organised jointly by SPERI, Policy Network and the Foundation for European Progressive Studies (FEPS), was the third in a series of four events as part of the project ‘Diverging Capitalisms? Britain, the City of London and Europe’. The aim of the project is to consider the changing nature of the British economy, its changing place within the European economic space and potential post-Brexit routes forward.

The event’s attendees debated the future of British and European competitiveness, the consequences of Brexit on the UK’s growth model, the response of British businesses to Brexit and the prospects of EU renewal after Article 50 is triggered later this week.

Two interactive sessions based on the research of SPERI’s Prof. Andrew Gamble and Dr. Scott Lavery were enriched by the contributions of Prof. Leila Simona Talani (King’s College London) and Prof. Engelbert Stockhammer (Kingston University) as discussants. This was followed by a panel discussion with policy-makers and commentators including Prof. Stephany Griffith-Jones (Overseas Development Institute and the Initiative for Policy Dialogue at Columbia University), Prof. Anke Hassel (Academic Director of the Institute of Economic and Social Research and Professor of Public Policy at the Hertie School of Governance in Berlin), Prof. Gerhard Stahl (Peking University Business School and the European Economic Studies Department at the College of Europe) and Prof. Helle Krunke (University of Copenhagen).

This event was preceded in the Diverging Capitalism series by two workshops at the offices of Policy Network on The City after the Crisis and EU economic governance since 2008. The final workshop in the autumn of this year will focus on inequality and the direction of progressive politics in a dividing Europe.

If you wish to receive more information about the Diverging Capitalisms project or about forthcoming events, please contact SPERI’s Dr. Daniel Bailey.


27 March 2017 by
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SPERI Welcomes Visiting Research Fellow from the University of Amsterdam

We are delighted to welcome Bart Stellinga from the University of Amsterdam, who is spending ten days in SPERI as part of the partnership between our institute and the University of Amsterdam’s Political Economy and Transnational Governance programme group (PETGOV).

The partnership was made possible thanks to the award of a Sheffield International Mobility Scheme grant facilitated by SPERI Research Fellow Genevieve LeBaron. This is the fourth exchange between our Universities. The objective of the partnership is to forge closer links with our partners and identify common areas of research and funding opportunities.

Bart gave a presentation on Thursday 23 March in the Department of Politics on macroprudential regulation entitled: “Taming the financial cycle? The macroprudential promise and why reforms do not live up to the high hopes”.  His presentation looked at the regulation flaws exposed by the global financial crisis of 2007/2008 and the attempt made by the EU to remedy those flaws. Bart argues that in comparison to initial hopes actual reforms have rather timid as macroprudential policy merely aims to increase banks’ resilience in the run-up to instability rather than prevent future crises. Andrew Baker whose SPERI Paper on the paradoxes of macroprudential regulation was published this week acted as a discussant, which led to an interesting discussion on the issues faced by the financial sector today.

Bart Stellinga is in SPERI until 29 March and can be contacted at

24 March 2017 by
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Political Economy and the Paradoxes of Macroprudential Regulation | New SPERI Paper

We are pleased to publish a new SPERI Paper by Andrew Baker which takes a close look at macroprudential regulation by engaging with its constituent concepts and how they interrelate to one another.

Andrew Baker argues that the emerging political economy of macroprudential regulation revolves around five paradoxes. The first three of these are paradoxes that characterise the financial system and are identified by the macroprudential perspective. In seeking to respond to these paradoxes, macroprudential policy generates a further two distinctly institutional and political paradoxes. The last of these is a central bankers’ paradox which relates to the source of independent central bank authority and the difficulty of building legitimacy and public support for macroprudential regulation.

Functioning macroprudential regulation is about executing a technocratic control project that rests on a depoliticisation strategy, that in turn risks politicising central banks, exposing their claims to technical authority to critical scrutiny and potential political backlash. This is the ultimate central bankers’ paradox in the era of post-crash political economy. Central banks conducting macroprudential regulation need to be aware of this paradox and handle it with great care.

Download SPERI Paper No. 40: Political Economy and the Paradoxes of Macroprudential Regulation.

22 March 2017 by
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SPERI seeks new Co-Director

The University of Sheffield is seeking on behalf of SPERI to appoint a new Chair in Political Economy and Co-Director of SPERI from 1 August 2017.

Applications are welcome and informal conversations can be held with Professor Colin Hay at

SPERI has been co-directed since its establishment in 2012 by Professors Colin Hay and Tony Payne. Tony retires as Director of SPERI on 31 July 2017, but will remain a part-time member of SPERI’s sfaff as a Professorial Fellow for a further period of time.

We are looking for an inspirational leader, who, working with the other members of the leadership team in SPERI, can provide the intellectual and strategic direction to meet our ambitions for SPERI. A full description of the post can be found here.

The closing date for applications is 20 April 2017.

The reference for the post is UOS015732.

Applications must be made online through the University job portal.

21 March 2017 by
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SPERI Co-Director gives the Commencement Lecture of the Department of Politics

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”).

Colin HayThe 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.

20 March 2017 by
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Putting tax at the heart of the inclusive growth debate | New SPERI-APPG report and event on tax

Liam ByrneAre 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.

16 March 2017 by
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The Industrial Strategy Commission launches with a packed event at the Royal Society

Professor Richard Jones

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.

8 March 2017 by
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New SPERI-APPG event in Parliament | Corporation tax: a global race to the bottom?

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.

Book your place here.

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.

Stay updated with the APPG on Inclusive Growth by signing up to the group’s mailing list and keep in touch onTwitter @APPGIncluGro and on Facebook

6 March 2017 by
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Full house for ‘In Conversation’ with Will Hutton

Firth HallOver 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.

Will HuttonAt 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.

6 March 2017 by
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The politics of devolution in England: launch of a special edition of the Political Quarterly

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.

James Reed, Political Editor of the Yorkshire Post

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:

27 February 2017 by
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