Ruth Porter

A bold plan to make welfare more personalised and responsive

Jobs must surely be one of the great success stories of this government: 1.8 million more people in work, and unemployment at its lowest level since 2008. Increasingly the coalition’s welfare reforms are taking the plaudits for this successful turnaround. This success will only continue as the reforms bed in. The roll out of Universal

Unions are harming their members’ interests with strikes

Industrial relations experts have said that the latest public sector strikes are unlikely to have any impact on government policy. I don’t think you have to be an ‘expert’ to reach that conclusion. The last time industrial action led to substantial demands being met was probably back in 1981, when the Thatcher government backed down

Social housing needs to be more social

With the recent anniversary of the Beveridge report, TV channels have been packed with an array of documentaries on our welfare system. Most of these have been fairly hopeless, trying to make their points with extreme cases. Channel 4’s ‘How to get a council house’ was a notable exception. With devastating clarity it showed how our social

Is Boris really ready to lead the Tory party?

Boris needs to pay attention. As James Allen said, ‘Circumstances do not make the man, they reveal him.’ Given his colourful character, discussion so far about Boris’s leadership potential has focused on the man himself; but politics is about being in the right place at the right time, as Churchill would attest. Unprecedented levels of

Can you trust the Tories to organise a Tory conference?

This year we have had two Tory spring conferences: the first organised by the blog ConservativeHome and today’s organised by the Tories. Last week, hundreds of activists gave up their Saturday to gather in Westminster and talk about how they’d win the next election. The discussion was vibrant, with serious debate about everything from regional economic

A living wage misses the point of poverty

We all want there to be some new quick fix for tackling poverty and a ‘living wage’ is the latest fad in this area of simplistic marketing slogans. The reality is far more complex. It is great that KPMG and many other companies are doing well enough that they can afford to pay their employees

Miliband’s ‘responsible capitalism’ requires deregulation

Despite yesterday’s gloomy unemployment figures there is, it turns out, good news for the government buried in current labour patterns: the total number of hours worked in the last three months has risen by three million. The bad news is that employers are currently filling this demand by getting current employees to work longer hours

We need better schools, not more spending

More money, better services? You might have thought that Gordon Brown had already tested that theory to destruction, but here it is again in the coverage of today’s Institute for Fiscal Studies report on education and schools spending. The IFS highlights that education is facing the biggest cuts over a four year period since the

Sharing the burden will enable tax cuts in the future

The elderly have been sheltered from cuts, so far at least. New research from the IEA suggests that the government could save an additional £16bn a year simply by cutting the various non-means-tested benefits older people receive and by making some minor changes to the pensions system.   Such a cull would include: the abolition