Policy Papers

Reforming the Bank of England to tame inflation and boost financial stability: Lessons from two centuries of British financial history

The Bank of England’s inflation target is 2.0%. But by July 2022, CPI inflation had reached more than 10%. Some forecasters are predicting price rises could reach 11% or more by October. To combat the great inflation of 2022, the paper recommends (i) the use of VAT cuts and energy-price caps to reduce the inflation rate to soften the coming monetary-policy shock to help preserve wider financial stability, (ii) the maintenance of central-bank independence, (iii) a review of the mandate of the Bank of England and (iv) the consideration of other models, economic metrics and perspectives to avoid a repeat of the “groupthink” that resulted in the inflation overshoot of 2021-22.

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Digital Energy: a history lesson from telecoms

UK energy policy does not put enough emphasis on creating sustainable economic growth using intermittent energy technology. The Government’s published energy digitalisation strategy favours a planned energy economy rather than a free market in low carbon electrical energy. The success of the telecommunications sector showed that assertive regulation can lead to innovation in a competitive market.

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Opinion Articles

‘Very brave, Minister’, Sir Humphrey Appleby

Commentators were drawing comparisons with the 1972 dash for growth even before Chancellor Kwasi Kwarteng stood up to deliver his ‘fiscal event’ on 23 September. In March 1972 his Conservative predecessor Anthony Barber injected an estimated 2 per cent of additional demand into the economy, primarily by raising income tax thresholds. History has not been kind to the Heath/Barber boom.

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How Seriously Should We Take Universal Basic Income?

Is universal basic income (UBI) a policy idea whose time has come? Recent historical scholarship now enables us to comprehend the twentieth-century evolution of this and similar ideas. UBI is intriguing in having vociferous backers drawn both from the libertarian right—such as, notably, Milton Friedman in the form of his negative income tax proposal—but also from the emancipation-embracing left—such as Michel Foucault and Phillipe Van Parijs. In this article, scepticism is expressed about whether UBI can seriously help to address issues of inequality, as opposed to preventing the poverty that liberal market economies tend insistently to generate.

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After the Virus: Lessons from the Past for a Better Future

A recording of the book launch After the Virus: Lessons from the Past for a Better Future by by Hilary Cooper and Simon Szreter now available.

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Simon Szreter’s team presents keynote at DWP Economists Conference

H&P co-founder Professor Simon Szreter spoke at the Department for Work and Pensions conference on 5 October on the subject of "Incentivising an Ethical Economics".

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No. 10 Guest Historian Series

H&P is working in partnership with the Prime Minister's Office and the National Archives to help revitalise the history content of the new History of Government Blog website.

H&P commissions and edits the No. 10 Guest Historian series, written by expert historians from the H&P network, as well as creating lively new biographies of previous Prime Ministers.

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About Us

H&P is based at the Institute of Historical Research, Senate House, University of London.

We are the only project in the UK providing access to an international network of more than 500 historians with a broad range of expertise. H&P offers a range of resources for historians, policy makers and journalists.

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