IPPR’s Transport Report Comes Off the Rails

Left-wing think tank IPPR has released a report claiming “New analysis of the government’s planned transport spending shows that, unless investment in the Northern Powerhouse goes ahead, London is set to receive almost 3 times more per person than the North.” You would hope the IPPR would be keeping track of the details…

To reach these skewed numbers, the think tank has had to include private sector investment.  Yet they claim incorrectly in their press release that the “new analysis” is of “the government’s planned transport spending”. It quite simply is not. The train-wreck of a report implies that Government investment is highest in the South and lowest in the North. In reality, official figures show that the opposite is true…

Looks like their report has already come off the rails…

Hypocritical Brown Criticises Tory Leadership Election

The former Prime Mentalist has just told an audience at the IPPR “More people voted for Ed Balls on Strictly than for our next Prime Minister.” Tens of thousands of Tories will have voted for Boris to become leader. The country made the Tories the biggest party and in Britain’s system of democracy that gives them the opportunity to form a government. Precisely zero people voted for Gordon Brown to become PM because his thuggish reign of terror scared off any opponent in his party from standing against him. Unbelievable hypocrisy…

Wonk Wars: The Rankings

ComRes have today revealed their rank bank of think tanks, assessing where the esteemed establishments rank among MPs of different parties. Their bi-annual survey of MPs has found that the Centre for Policy Studies and the Institute of Economic Affairs come out on top among Tory MPs, with 65% and 59% of Tory MPs respectively endorsing them for their ‘high quality output’. Free market ideas still rule the roost, despite the leanings of the current party leadership…

Additionally, 39% of Conservative MPs say the CPS is one of the most influential think tanks, with the IEA nearest on 35%. The Centre for Social Justice, Institute for Fiscal Studies and The Taxpayers’ Alliance follow closely behind to round out the top five. The CPS are by far the biggest climbers with a sizable 13% jump, testament to their recent star hires

Labour MPs liked the IPPR best, with the Joseph Rowntree Foundation and IFS falling in behind. On an overall cross-party basis, the top five most influential wonks were the IFS (37%), followed by the JRF (30%), Chatham House (28%), the IEA (28%), and the CPS (24%).

Oddly, the Adam Smith Institute wasn’t included in the list for MPs to choose from, despite some big policy wins this year. Guido hears the CPS has sportingly called on ComRes to include the ASI next time round…

Read the report in full below:

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Double Standards of the Charity Commission

Today the Charity Commission proudly published a slap-down of the Institute of Economic Affairs for having the temerity to produce recommendations for how the Government should deliver Brexit. By publishing ‘Plan A+’, the Charity Commission argues that the IEA has been insufficiently balanced.

“educational charities must ensure that their research reports present balanced and neutral information allowing the reader to make up his or her own mind about the issue explored”

But where was the “official warning” for the left wing charity the Institute of Public Policy Research, run by Ed Miliband’s former spin doctor, which in 2017 produced not dissimilar document called The Shared Market proposing a left wing route out of the EU, tying the UK into EU regulatory structures. As a ‘proposed agreement’ this was entirely analogous to the IEA plan…

“The proposed agreement outlined in this briefing would be a distinct way forward for the UK and the EU27.”

What about the Joseph Rowntree Charitable Trust, which in 2015 gave £30,000 to Compass, a left-wing membership organisation affiliated to the Labour Party. It also donated £85,000 to “Corporate Watch” who have published books including advocacy of government boycott of the Jewish state, along with “Capitalism, what is it and how can we destroy it?” Very charitable… 

Where is the investigation into the charity ‘Hope Not Hate’, who have received £90,000 from the Joseph Rowntree Charitable Trust, and are campaigning against Brexit with Gina Miller’s radical campaign group ‘Best for Britain.’ They have openly stated that:

“We believe that a hard Brexit is being used by the radical right, inside and outside the Conservative Party, to dramatically change British society – and change it for the worse.”

How is this very balanced and educational?

UPDATE: The IEA has put out a formal response to the Charity Commission:

“The Institute of Economic Affairs is disappointed that the Charity Commission has issued us with an official warning for the publication and launch of a trade paper in September 2018.

“The IEA is considering a range of options, as we believe this warning has extremely widespread and worrying implications for the whole of the think tank and educational charity sector.

“A precedent is being set: research papers – and their launches – which put forward policy proposals may now fall outside the parameters of what the Charity Commission considers acceptable activity.

“We will be working with the Charity Commission to address these points. Earlier this year, we asked a number of questions of the Commission relating to these regulatory matters and have yet to receive a response. We look forward to receiving such a response shortly to help inform our future activity.”

IPPR Proposes Taxing Christmas & Birthday Presents

The IPPR Commission’s Plan for the New Economy report repeats the Resolution Foundation’s loopy call for all 25 year-olds to be given a cash handout of £10,000 each. This would, they say, cost £186 billion and come partly from a massive hike on inheritance tax. The government is over a trillion in debt, this would more than triple the deficit.

The IPPR’s new inheritance tax replacement would be a ‘lifetime gifts tax’ to get around the seven-year inheritance rule. How taxing all gifts between family members is in any way moral is anyone’s guess. The IPPR says vaguely that “gifts worth a small amount will be exempt”.  

If the IPPR’s proposal becomes policy when the parents stump up your deposit for a house as a wedding gift, that will now come with a tax bill. Grandma’s wedding ring for the bride? HMRC will send you a tax bill for that too.

Your first car from dad when you go to college? Annual road tax plus IPPR’s gift tax. If the grandparents help with your college fees or pay off your £50,000 of student debts when you graduate. John McDonnell will send you a tax bill on top of that…

The reason family gifts are exempt is because they are gifts, they are often a material expression of love. If John McDonnell wants to tax love…

Bastani Not Going to IPPR

Last week Red Roar reported that Corbynista firebrand Aaron Bastani had been offered a job at the IPPR think tank. The potential move caused consternation and horror in moderate Labour circles, as well as much mockery of the once influential New Labour wonk shop on Twitter, and, Guido hears, protests from the IPPR boardroom. Guido can now reveal that any plans the IPPR had to hire Bastani have alas fallen through. In a phone call just now, Bastani declined multiple opportunities to deny that the IPPR had withdrawn their offer to him. IPPR sources say he now won’t be coming on board. Following the dissolution of his company, presumably this means jobless Aaron is free to spend more time making his videos

Wonks: Prioritise HS3 Over HS2

George Osborne is advocating a new high speed rail line (dubbed ‘HS3’) for the North of England, running from Liverpool to Hull. But it’s much more than another pressure tactic designed to trouble Number 10. The plan itself has some merit…

Everyone agrees infrastructure investment is badly needed if the ‘Northern Powerhouse’ regeneration is to succeed. At the high end, estimates for HS3 construction reach £7 billion, but this pales in comparison to the spiralling costs of HS2, projected at £56 billion (a figure which experience shows underestimates the likely final costs). The comparative benefits of HS3 are significant. The line would slash freight transport on crucial industrial routes by between as much as four and seven hours, and would cut a journey from Leeds to Manchester to just 30 minutes; HS2 saves time but not as much. Wonks at the Institute for Public Policy Research found that HS3 would boost economic growth and should be prioritised over HS2. Seems like they should build HS3 first…

Gloomy Wonks are EU-Funded Europhiles

Britain will be “older, more unequal and blighted by Brexit”, according to a gloomy new report from the IPPR think tank. Apparently there will be a decade of disaster and misery caused by the Leave vote. Two things the Guardian didn’t include in their write-up: The IPPR was formerly run by the head of the Remain campaign Will Straw. It is funded by the EU. Probably worth mentioning…

More EU Sockpuppetry From IPPR

GDFS

The Institute for Public Policy Research (IPPR) has today released a pro-European briefing outlining the minor renegotiations on Britain’s EU membership that it thinks would warrant staying in the EU. Titled “Unlocking the EU Free Movement Debate”, the document suggests small reforms in EU policy in five key areas are more than enough to stave off Brexit. Reform in our time indeed…

The IPPR however have omitted one tiny detail from their report: they are heavily funded by Europe. As Guido has previously reported, not only did they receive an €800,000 bung from EU in 2012, but their most recent accounts declare they received between £60,001 and £80,000 from the European Commission during 2014. So much for the “independent policy research” their mission statement boasts about. 

On top of this, its former associate director is none other than Will Straw, an ardent Europhile who left the IPPR recently. To work as the Executive Director of Britain Stronger in Europe. 

Given all this, Guido decided to give the report’s author a bell this afternoon to see if he could clarify the issue:

Guido: As far as I can see it doesn’t say anywhere in the report that the IPPR is funded by Europe.

Marley Morris: Yes, that’s correct, we’re not.

Guido: So you’re not funded by Europe?

Marley: Correct, we don’t receive any funding from Europe. Some people say we do, but we don’t.

Guido: But on your website it says you received between £60,001 and £80,000 from the European Commission during 2014.

Marley: Uhhh… Uhh… Oh yes… Uhh I think there was another project funded by… uhh… Europe that someone was… uhh… working on.

And people said “Marley and Me” wasn’t funny…

IPPR: Tax the Poor

ippr-tax-the-poor2

Labour wonkshop IPPR have published a list of policy proposals today that aim to tackle the adverse affects of the government’s low-carbon programme on low-income groups. That would be the same IPPR who have spend years pushing for the decorbonisation policies that have disproportionately screwed over Britain’s poor…

The IPPR’s solutions to the problem include public ownership of new nuclear capacity and lifting the moratorium on onshore wind farms. Gaia would expect nothing less from the place that let a wind energy company write their report on wind power…

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Quote of the Day

In response to the news that Emily Thornberry described the Lib Dems as “like the Taliban” over their new revoke Article 50 Brexit policy, the former Lib Dem leader responded:

“Come on Emily, if we really were like a Middle East terrorist group, don’t you think Jeremy would’ve invited us to a conference fringe meeting before now?”

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