The Wilberforce Society | Domestic Policy
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Domestic Policy

Writers: Nadia Abdul, Cormac Devlin, Maya de Silva Wijeyeratne, Nikhil Dwivedi, Kai Johns, Mark O’Brien, João Pedro Borges Santos

Editor: Nikhil Dwivedi

The National Health Service (NHS) is neither sustainable nor effective in its current form. The advent of the ageing population and along with it, the prevalence of multiple, long-term, complex health conditions, has meant that the NHS no longer serves the same population it was originally designed for. The NHS must reconfigure itself to effectively serve this new demographic; but it must do so against the backdrop of the lingering effects of both the economic crash and weak, ineffective recent reform.

This paper looks to the healthcare successes and innovations of other countries’ for answers. Structurally, there should be greater decentralisation of the NHS to allow local authorities to best tackle the health problems facing their particular populations, whilst avoiding the bureaucracy they currently face. Fiscally, this paper finds that the recent drive towards cuts in spending to the NHS in order to relieve the deficit will not allow resolution of service or sustainability issues in the NHS. Decentralisation, along with a change in policy emphasis from short-term deficit control to long-term planning of care methods, will allow the NHS to fund services in a sustainable and effective way

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Writers: Max Gibson, Stacy Young, Thomas Carlile, Matija Franklin

Editors: Jun Pang

The urgency of planning and implementing sustainable environmental practices cannot be understated. Most recently, world leaders spoke of the pressing need to deal with climate change at COP21, with many heralding the talks as a sign that the international community was finally moving from the realm of words to that of action. However, problems continue to abound as governments grapple with the imperative of ensuring their countries’ growth and development versus that of implementing environmental policies – there remains difficulty in bridging the gap between policy and reality.

This paper aims to discern the different benefits of local versus top-down methods of common-pool resource (CPR) management, in the context of resource scarcity in the world today. Contrasting these two ideal types, it identifies existing local and top-down solutions to the management of the common-pool resources of land, energy, and fisheries, and evaluates a variety of relevant historical and current case studies for their successes and failures.


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Writers: Jun Pang and Vidya Ramesh

Editors: Laura Grunberg and Chia Jeng Yang

Commissioned by: End Rape on Campus UK

Sexual violence is endemic to university campuses and other institutions of higher education. While preliminary engagement with the issue has begun on the part of the education sector and the government in the United States, there remains no comprehensive set of mechanisms for dealing with sexual violence across universities and other institutions of higher education in the United Kingdom.

The University of Cambridge and the University of Oxford are compelling examples of the difficulties of instituting simultaneously vertical and lateral processes of disciplinary action and awareness-raising when it comes to issues surrounding rape, sexual assault, sexual harassment, and consent, due to their collegiate system. This paper explores the answer to the seemingly straightforward question, “Does the University of Cambridge have a policy for cases of sexual harassment and assault?”, and hopes to highlight the importance of instituting comprehensive mechanisms for dealing with the issue of sexual violence in universities. It recommends that institutions of higher education pursue a two-pronged approach to instituting policy: preventative measures (raising awareness of the importance of consent) should function in tandem with disciplinary measures (mechanisms for dealing with alleged perpetrators of sexual violence) in order to best uphold student welfare.

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Lead Writers: Zoe Adams, Francois Vanherck

Writers: Shani Wijetilaka, Maximilian Campbell, Joshua Richman, Jack LeGresley

Editor: Umang Khandelwal

The House of Lords is suffering from an identity crisis. This is as much due to short sighted reform efforts as it is to issues of legitimacy. Reform needs to be seen as a priority, conceived as part of a normative vision of the role that the House of Lords could, and should play in the context of the modern British constitution. It is time to recognise that the House of Lords can make a meaningful contribution to our democracy, and defend it against the widespread criticism to which it is subject today.

This paper has sought to highlight the importance of the scrutinizing function the House of Lords performs. It has sought to demonstrate that the question of expertise cannot be separated from the nature of its composition. Before other issues can even begin to be addressed, the House needs to demonstrate it represents a diverse cross-section of society. By focusing on the central issue of composition, the proposed reforms should help to convince the public of the important contribution that the House of Lords can make to the quality of our democracy today.


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Writers: Tom Ellis, Walter Myer, Eddie Reynolds, Kartik Upadhyay

Editor: Walter Myer

Formatted by: Brendan Tan

This paper outlines a strategy to improve upon formal and informal recognition of qualifications held by refugees entering the UK. It begins with an overview of UK NARIC, the national body responsible for producing equivalence qualifications. This is followed by discussion of the problem of refugees who lack physical evidence of their qualifications upon arrival. We then turn to the problem of language acquisition, before finally considering official channels of support for refugees as they use their equivalence qualifications to seek employment.

In our conclusion, we produce a series of proposals directed towards NARIC and other organisations. These include the introduction of an assessment-based qualification recognition process; a model integrating employment with language learning; and the supplementation of NARIC’s role through government-supported initiatives for job-seeking refugees across a range of areas.

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Written by Ewan Lusty

Formatted by Brendan Tan

Corruption is increasingly on the UK policy-making agenda. In December 2014 the Government published a comprehensive Anti-Corruption Plan, consisting of 66 points for further action in addressing corruption, acting on repeated warnings from journalists, academics, and NGOs about the threat corruption poses in the UK and the need for an active policy response. Although this plan is wide-ranging in its scope and ambition, further thought and discussion is necessary to determine the exact shape of this action.

This paper proposes an online service that will act as both an easily accessible reporting mechanism and an information hub. It will allow citizens both to report corruption and to understand the principal corruption risks in more detail. It will specifically target corruption in local government, one of nine risk areas identified by the Anti-Corruption Plan. Because Scotland and Northern Ireland have separate institutional arrangements for tackling corruption, this proposal will confine itself to England and Wales. It draws on a wide range of existing innovations around the world, including from low- and middle-income countries. In particular, India and Ukraine offer valuable examples of how to incorporate citizens’ use of technology into an anti-corruption strategy.


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Writers: Shachi Amdekar, Jack Sibley, Vivek Midha
Editor: Daniil Miroshnichenko
Contributors: Matija Franklin, Kartik Vira, Chia Jeng Yang

In this paper, we propose potential solutions to the problem of technological unemployment in the UK. We start with an examination of the phenomenon of technological unemployment in literature as seen in economic models, along with empirical evidence pertaining directly to the UK. Then, we evaluate Britain’s current educational, welfare and innovation policies in relation to coping with technological unemployment. Finally, we set out our proposals for the respective policies before finishing off with the concluding remarks.

With the advent of machine learning and big data technology will destroy jobs on a larger scale and for a longer period than ever before. As it stands, we are not ready for these changes. Britain has a historical record of underperforming in both entrepreneurial education and innovation, and the current welfare system is maladapted to such a shift in the nature of unemployment. The measures outlined below seek to maximise the share of the population involving in and profiting from entrepreneurial activity, as it emphasises creativity and innovation, traits that are hard to automate. We propose equipping people with the knowledge and the financial backdrop to start their own business. We also suggest stimulating product innovation in the hope of creating more jobs faster. It is important to note that our proposals interlace: entrepreneurial education will enable R&D to be converted into new business opportunities, financially supported by a universal basic income. With the government being the largest stakeholder in education, welfare and promoting innovation, this paper naturally focuses on what policies the government and its departments should pursue in response to rising unemployment.

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The prison population currently stands at around 84,000. This constitutes a 100% increase on the 1993 prison population. During this time the rate of reoffending has remained stubbornly high, with about 50% of offenders  reoffending within a year of release from prison. The reoffending rate has remained consistent despite  a range of initiatives and policies aimed at tackling this problem.

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Whilst based in Cheltenham GCHQ evidently operates communications surveillance across both the UK and the wider world. The recent allegations of a GCHQ run listening post at Britain’s German Embassy would seem to support the suggestion that the organisation is involved in collecting data for defending Britain’s interests, in a wider sense than the “What we do” page of the GCHQ website implies, with its focus on the threats faced. Furthermore, it implies a physical geographical extension which is not apparent from the neat division of the services previously attested to.

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Written exclusively by students, this paper is uniquely placed to present a broad range of perspectives on issues surrounding young people and alcohol.

  • In the opening chapter, Claudia Leong argues that media presentation of a youth binge drinking culture is unfair and counterproductive: unfair in light of comparable levels of alcohol consumption among other generations and counterproductive in reinforcing negative stereotypes.
  • Debayan Dasgupta, the author of chapter two, targets his proposals for community level partnerships at the problems of underage drinking and cheap, superstrength alcohol, which are in his eyes the key factors in reducing antisocial behaviour surrounding alcohol misuse.
  • The provision of explicit, personalised information is the key proposal of the third chapter, by Gabriel Lambert. He sees potential in making the medical effects of alcohol consumption easier to conceptualise by linking alcohol intake directly to life expectancy. In addition, he makes a wider case for full disclosure of information by alcohol producers, which he hopes would lead people to reduce their consumption, obviating the need for punitive measures.
  • In chapter four, Helena Barman points to the success of graphic health warnings on cigarette packets in arguing for the adoption of a similar strategy for tackling alcohol misuse. Visually arresting images that target heavy drinkers would add shock value to a message, which could be communicated more effectively overall with the help of representative student bodies.
  • Ingrid Hesselbo adopts an anthropological perspective in chapter five. She emphasises the importance of separating the medical effects of alcohol from its cultural associations, and highlights the issue of personal responsibility for actions while intoxicated. She also advocates more liberal licensing laws in the long term, as part of normalising moderate alcohol consumption.
  • Finally, in chapter six Jonathon Hazell argues for further alcohol taxation over minimum pricing as a potentially more progressive system that would see the proceeds go to government rather than alcohol companies. In addition, he draws attention to the fact that, despite the government’s outward concern with phenomena such as preloading, young people are not disproportionately heavy drinkers compared with the general population.

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