Intergenerational fairness: What is it? Does it matter?

Migration: a liberal challengeTom Papworth with Adam Corlett
December 2014

Intergenerational fairness is in vogue. It is discussed in Sunday morning TV political debates. Senior politicians write books about it. It has even spawned its own think tank. Yet the use of the term in popular debate is imprecise, ill-defined and confused. Too often, discussions fail to distinguish between lifetime consumption smoothing and intergenerational predation. More worryingly, the debate evinces a lack of clarity about what is meant by “intergenerational” and “fairness”.

This report sets outs a theoretical framework upon which to base future explorations of intergenerational fairness in particular policy areas. As such, it seeks to define what intergenerational fairness is – and, crucially, what it is not – and asks whether it should be our main cause of concern.

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Access and equity: positioning alternative providers in higher education provision

Migration: a liberal challengeStephen Lee
November 2014

Alternative providers (APs) play an increasingly important role in widening access to higher education, promoting innovation in programme design and delivery, and enhancing student choice.

Yet there is a continuing perception among APs that they suffer from the lack of a “level playing field” in the way public and private institutions are regulated, inhibiting their capacity to operate effectively in the higher education market.

This report calls on government to implement a common regulatory framework for all higher education institutions in England. The proposed framework of regulation would include a commitment to parity of treatment in regulation and institutional review. There would also be a stronger focus on quality assurance and effective collaboration through accreditation and validation across different institutions.

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Select media coverage: The Guardian, Times Higher

Enhanced, sustainable devolution in a federal context

Toby Fenwick and Nikki Stickland
November 2014 

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Following the Scottish referendum in September 2014, Lord Smith of Kelvin was appointed chair of a new commission to take forward the devolution commitments on further powers for the Scottish Parliament. CentreForum's submission to the Smith Commission – whose website can be viewed here – makes detailed recommendations for a federal UK underpinned by an entrenched, codified and written constitution. Under CentreForum's proposals, the House of Lords would be replaced by fully elected upper house elected on a proportional basis. There would also be detailed procedures for future secession referenda, and the transfer of further policy and fiscal powers.

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A place of sanctuary? Creating a fair and efficient asylum system

Migration: a liberal challengeAlasdair Murray
November 2014

This paper shows how government can make the UK’s asylum system fairer and more efficient. It argues that the current system is anachronistic in that it was designed to manage a large influx of asylum seekers at the turn of the millennium. Asylum numbers have fallen sharply since then and, while the overall debate about migration has intensified, hostility towards those seeking sanctuary has mellowed somewhat. It is therefore an opportune time to reform some of the most draconian elements of the asylum process without undermining public confidence.

Drawing on sector expertise and the author’s own analysis the paper makes 21 recommendations in the areas of institutional reform; detention; destitution; women and children; and the Common European Asylum System (CEAS). The intention behind each recommendation is to make the asylum system more responsive to today’s challenges – rather than those of previous decades.

‘A place of sanctuary? Creating a fair and efficient asylum system’ is the final publication of a three part series aimed at setting a liberal agenda in UK immigration policy. CentreForum previously published ‘Migration: a liberal challenge’ (January 2014) and ‘The business case for immigration reform’ (December 2013).

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Reading well by 11: modelling the potential for improvement

Migration: a liberal challengeChris Thoung
September 2014

The Read On. Get On. campaign has set an ambition that all 11 year olds in Britain should be reading well by 2025. Of the one in four children that are not currently reading well, a disproportionate number come from disadvantaged backgrounds. Disadvantaged children already face many challenges and not being able to read well further undermines their future chances of success. These pupils risk being left further and further behind. This can only accentuate the problem of low social mobility in the UK. The aim of the Read On. Get On. campaign is to promote reading as means to improve prospects for struggling children.

While a goal of all children reading well is clearly ambitious, the analysis in this CentreForum report commissioned by Save the Children shows that such a goal is achievable.

The report uses real pupil data for 2013 to model the effect of measures that are in the scope of existing public policy, from early years and through primary school. The research shows that there is substantial capacity for improvement already in the system. The Read On. Get On. campaign goal, of all children reading well by 2025, is within reach.

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Access the website of Read On. Get On.

Select media coverage: Daily Telegraph, The Times