Upcoming Events

In our new Autumn events series, we will examine some of the major socio-economic issues facing UK policy-makers in the era of Covid-19. From future tax policy to negotiating Brexit trade deals, from the challenge of reaching net zero to the future of the Industrial Strategy. We will consider new ideas and explore strategic approaches with politicians, business leaders, policy makers, consultants, academics and journalists.

1st October 2020, 12:30-13:30
Will Covid-19 finally trigger reform of local government finance?

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The long-term trajectory for local government finance was looking challenging before Covid. Now, in the short term, it is perilous. Council costs have risen substantially whilst incomes have fallen.  Despite several bungs from central government, there is no indication of support to cover the scale of in year losses.  Will this acute crisis trigger a more fundamental reassessment of the unsustainable local government finance system, and if so what shape should that take?

  • Steve Reed, Shadow Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government
  • Lord Kerslake, President of the Local Government Association, former head of the Civil Service and Permanent Secretary at the Department for Communities and Local Government
  • Prof. Donna Hall, Chair of the New Local Government Network, and former CEO of Wigan Council
The front of Deptford Town Hall
9th October 2020, 14:00-15:00
UK Industrial Strategy's three horsemen: Covid, Brexit and trade wars?

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Despite its chequered history with industrial policy, the UK needs a rational and forward-looking strategy more than ever to deal with Covid, Brexit, and looming trade wars.  Less immediate, but just as pressing loom the technological challenges of digitalising and decarbonising industry. Strategy must therefore deal simultaneously with a series of short-term shocks and long-term transitions. How do we make opportunities out of these challenges?

  • Dame Kate Barker, Chair of the Industrial Strategy Commission, former member of the National Infrastructure Commission, previously external member of the Bank of England’s Monetary Policy Committee, Chief Economic Advisor to the CBI
  • Prof. Anand Menon, Professor of European Politics at Kings College London and Director of the UK in a Changing Europe
  • Prof. Richard Jones, Chair in Material Physics and Innovation Policy, University of Manchester
A scientist looks through a microscope
22nd October 2020, 10:00-11:00
Is the unemployment crisis fracturing climate consensus?

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The 2019 general election saw Labour lose the ‘red wall’ as more socially conservative, traditionally Labour voters, switched to Boris Johnson’s Conservative party.  The Covid unemployment crisis is likely to hit these areas hard. They are also home to some of the industries that will be most affected by the net zero transition. As government tries to stem the unemployment crisis, and appease its new voters, will investment in jobs in polluting industries fracture a fragile consensus on climate?

  • Claire Perry O’Neil, MD for Climate & Energy, World Business Council for Sustainable Development, former Minister of State for Energy and Clean Growth, and former President of COP26
  • Professor Rebecca Willis, Professor in Practice Lancaster University, former Director of Green Alliance and Author of Too Hot to Handle: the Democratic Challenge of Climate Change
  • Mary Creagh, Chief Executive of Living Streets, and former Shadow Secretary of State and Chair of the Environmental Audit Select Committee
A climate protester is arrested by police

Our Seminar Series

Watch all our previous events in this playlist

10th September 2020, 14:00-15:00
‘Essential’ work to ‘good’ work - ensuring the post-Covid labour market is secure

Unemployment could hit a record level later this year having started the year at lows not seen since the 1970s. But the pandemic has highlighted some of the unpalatable features of the pre-Covid labour market that may have contributed to such apparent success. Insecure, low-productivity work, allowing companies are able to pass on risks to workers, may make companies more resilient and raise employment rates, but are the social consequences worth it? As we scramble to tackle mounting unemployment, should we aim for a more secure labour market after the crisis? If so, how?


  • Martin Sandbu, Financial Times’ European Economic Commentator and Author of The Economics of Belonging
  • Tony Wilson, Director of the Institute for Employment Studies
  • Stella Creasy MP, Member of Parliament for Walthamstow
A deliveroo rider waits at Tower Bridge in London
18th September 2020, 10:00-11:00
Taxing times: where and when should taxes rise?

Our paper How Far and How Fast shows the severity and length of the pandemic will affect public debt levels. The OBR has calculated that an additional £60bn may be needed in additional revenue to keep the public debt stable in the wake of the crisis. But is the tax system up to the challenge of raising such amounts in a fair and efficient way? How should it be reformed to meet the challenge ahead and how can the political obstacles to reform be overcome?

  • Douglas Alexander, Senior Fellow, Harvard Kennedy School, former Secretary of State for Scotland, Transport and International Development
  • David Gauke, former Chief Secretary to the Treasury
  • Stephanie Flanders, Bloomberg
magnetic compass lying on a paper spreadsheet