The future of the economy will be central to the election campaign. But all too often such debates become narrowly focused on issues like government borrowing and tax rates while bigger questions are frequently ignored. Should we really be worried about the level of the deficit? Whatever happened to promoting manufacturing and ‘rebalancing’ the economy? Where are the new industries going to come from? Should the state spend more on infrastructure and housing, or would it be better to make it easier for the private sector to do so? Are welfare benefits and pensions an unaffordable burden or do they represent social justice and an essential safety net? Is it time to privatise the NHS or will that destroy an invaluable public service?
In this debate, four independent economic commentators offer their own perspectives on the state of the economy today and the kind of policies the next government could implement to promote growth, create jobs and raise living standards.
Ryan Bourne, Head of Public Policy at a free-market think tank, the Institute of Economic Affairs, and a weekly columnist for City AM. He has previously worked for Frontier Economics and a Thatcherite think tank, the Centre for Policy Studies.
Phil Mullan, Economist and business manager. Author of The Imaginary Time Bomb: Why an Ageing Population is not a Social Problem (IB Tauris, 2000). He has researched, written and lectured on economic, demographic and business issues. Currently he is researching economic trends in the Western world, and writing a book, How the Western Economies Have Lost Their Mojo: why this matters, and what we can do to restore it.
Vicky Pryce, Chief Economic Adviser at the Centre for Economics and Business Research. She was previously Senior Managing Director at FTI Consulting (2010-2013) and Director General for Economics at the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills (BIS) and Joint Head of the UK Government Economic Service. She is co-author of It’s the Economy Stupid: Economics for Voters (Biteback, 2015).
Jonathan Portes, Director of the National Institute of Economic and Social Research(NIESR) and former chief economist at the Cabinet Office. Jonathan writes frequently for The Guardian.
Chair: Rob Lyons, Science and Technology Director at the Institute of Ideas; convenor for IoI Economy Forum
This debate is produced by the IoI Economy Forum in association with The Building Centre.