Civil Servant Brazenly Endorses Lisa Nandy’s Policies at IfG Conference

Lisa Nandy graced the Institute for Government conference this afternoon, only to be welcomed and endorsed by an audience member who openly admitted to being a serving senior civil servant. The audience member introduced herself as Grace Duffy, and told the Labour frontbencher “it’s so great to have you.” 

“Hi, I’m Grace Duffy from the Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities! No it’s so great to have you. I was wondering if you could tell us a little bit more about your views on how we address the problems in the housing market, particularly the role of the private renting sector. I was particularly struck by the comment you made about housing being a human right and how that relates to the view of not just the private renting sector but housing as either a financial product or as an investment; and how that relates to the human rights thing. 

Also as someone who just moved out of London, just strong agree on the buses, it is such an enourmous source of frustration.”

Using her question to twice agree with her boss’s opponent seems like a pretty cut-and-dry incident of breaching the Civil Service Code, which requires the blob to “maintain political impartiality… no matter what your own political beliefs are.” It adds, “You must not: act in a way that is determined by party political considerations”. Grace Duffy is the Head of Private Rented Sector Dispute Resolution & Non-Traditional Tenures. She’s been a civil servant since 2014 – surely she should know better…

mdi-timer 17 January 2023 @ 16:58 17 Jan 2023 @ 16:58 mdi-twitter mdi-facebook mdi-whatsapp mdi-telegram mdi-linkedin mdi-email mdi-comment View Comments
Tax-Loving Think Tankers to Give “Evidence” on Kwasi’s Mini-Budget This Week

The Treasury Select Committee is set to hear ‘oral evidence’ on Kwasi’s mini-Budget this Wednesday from a panel that looks like it was dreamt up by an FBPE focus group. The Anti-Growth Coalition’s own cast of Avengers…

The Institute for (Big) Government, the Institute for Fiscal Studies and the Resolution Foundation are all sending their star performers to the show. No prizes for what Torsten Bell or Paul Johnson will have to say about a plan that actually supports tax cuts…

mdi-timer 10 October 2022 @ 15:10 10 Oct 2022 @ 15:10 mdi-twitter mdi-facebook mdi-whatsapp mdi-telegram mdi-linkedin mdi-email mdi-comment View Comments
Keir Cancels Scheduled Public Speaking Engagement

Keir Starmer was due to speak tomorrow afternoon at a high profile public event hosted by the Institute for Government, on Labour’s approach to meeting the challenges the country faces, on the eve of the Queen’s Speech. A chance to set the agenda for an important week.

The public event was scheduled to have included questions from the press and public. This morning, when door-stepped outside his North London home by journalists, a grim faced Starmer refused to say anything and was bundled into a waiting Range Rover. Keir clearly realises that “the police have already investigated this matter and found nothing” will no longer work as a line.

The Institute for Government is funded by the billionaire David Sainsbury, a former Labour minister under Tony Blair, who has backed centrist Labour politicians financially in the past. A statement on the website says only that the event is cancelled, with no explanation given.

mdi-timer 8 May 2022 @ 19:20 8 May 2022 @ 19:20 mdi-twitter mdi-facebook mdi-whatsapp mdi-telegram mdi-linkedin mdi-email mdi-comment View Comments
Sturgeon’s £8.5 Billion Austerity Drive in Event of Scottish Independence

Forget £350 million a week for the NHS; an independent Scotland would be forced to find a huge £8.5 billion down the back of the sofa due to their 8% deficit. A report by the Institute for Government warns it would also “almost certainly be more expensive for Scotland to borrow than for the UK” as a result of higher interest rates. David Cameron might have some advice on swingeing cuts…

The report brings further bad news on the question of an independent Scotland’s currency. Earlier this week, deputy first minister John Swinney said the country would eventually move towards a “distinctive currency”. This, the report warns, would provide the greatest freedom, though at the cost of leaping into the unknown:

“a new, free-floating currency would be the most unknown quantity of the options that would be available to Scotland after independence. It would probably take time for the new currency to gain credibility with, and enough liquidity in, foreign exchangemarkets and for the new government to build a reputation for sound macroeconomic policy and a commitment to the independent management of monetary policy. Without those, the currency’s value would be more vulnerable to speculation. Resulting currency volatility could impart shocks to the real economy.”

In a week where Scotland had to beg the UK MoD for help in the wake of their national ambulance crisis, it might not be the best time for Sturgeon to make the arguments of going it alone…

mdi-timer 17 September 2021 @ 13:30 17 Sep 2021 @ 13:30 mdi-twitter mdi-facebook mdi-whatsapp mdi-telegram mdi-linkedin mdi-email mdi-comment View Comments
LISTEN: Former Cabinet Secretary Gus O’Donnell Calls HS2 a “White Elephant” That Should Never Have Been Approved

Following yesterday’s publication of Michael Gove’s merit-based Civil Service reforms, former Cabinet Secretary Sir Gus O’Donnell has responded by claiming the report still won’t stop the approval of “white elephant” projects like HS2, and laid into the government for focusing on “the delivery of targets that miss the point” of achieving optimal outcomes.

Speaking on the Institute for Government Live podcast, O’Donnell said:

How do we stop someone approving HS2 when on the basis of cost estimates that everyone knows is wildly optimistic…this document is quite heavy on the responsible owner part, which I think is a good thing, but you can be the responsible owner but can be dealing with a project that should never have gotten started. And my god, we end up with some big white elephants…

Guido’s inclined to agree

O’Donnell’s also on the money when it comes to government targets. Too often Ministers prioritise input rather than outcomes – like upping the number of police officers rather than trying to reduce crime stats – which, as the Institute for Government’s own report shows, “can create a culture of compliance that discourages innovation and prevents adequate services from excelling“. Gove’s reforms are a start, though there’s still clearly a way to go…

mdi-timer 16 June 2021 @ 15:11 16 Jun 2021 @ 15:11 mdi-twitter mdi-facebook mdi-whatsapp mdi-telegram mdi-linkedin mdi-email mdi-comment View Comments
Tories Have Kept Half Their 2019 Manifesto Promises

A new report from the billionaire-funded Institute for Government calculates that the Tories have completed or are on track to complete 137 manifesto pledges out of a total 237, with varying degrees of progress made on a further 75 commitments. This despite the effects of coronavirus…

The paper shows that on flagship promises like delivering Brexit, boosting funding for public services, and improving infrastructure, the government has made significant progress since the 2019 election. Brexit is over, an NHS funding rise of 3.1% by 2023/3 has been enshrined in law, and over £100 billion has been allocated for transport over the course of the parliament. The Towns Fund and Levelling Up Fund have also begun rolling out. As promised, Big Government is back…

The pandemic has caused a change of course in a few key places: initial spending plans went out the window, and there are now huge backlogs in the courts and on NHS waiting lists. Foreign aid commitments have been walked back, and a social care deal has been kicked down the road. With the next election rumoured for the end of 2023, there’s still a way to go…

mdi-timer 18 May 2021 @ 13:45 18 May 2021 @ 13:45 mdi-twitter mdi-facebook mdi-whatsapp mdi-telegram mdi-linkedin mdi-email mdi-comment View Comments
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