Latest posts

2007

Housing U-turn?

Hopefully the debate about PGS is over and the discussion can move on to making the tariff work. If properly designed, it could both strengthen local democracy and help to build the houses this country needs. [...]

The Magpie Chancellor

The press may have christened our new Chancellor the “Magpie” but real magpies at least accumulate small treasures. Mr Darling, on the other hand, has collected nothing but debt. [...]

Der Grenzgänger

Als Sänger verkaufte Cat Stevens Millionen Alben. Dann trat er zum Islam über, hetzte gegen Israel und Juden. Nun soll es mit der Radikalität vorbei sein. Wer ist Yusuf Islam? [...]

Liberal again

For people who believe in limited government, low taxation and free trade – in other words, for economic liberals – the Conservative party had for a long time been the party closest to their thinking. Yet over the past months, some conflicting messages have come out of the party. [...]

Vorsprung durch Technik – learning from German planning

If Britain cannot shift the balance towards more local incentives and decision-making in planning, then good and affordable housing will remain something that the British will only be able to see on TV – when reporting from Germany, says Oliver Hartwich [...]

Disaster of our credit culture

Private and public overspending has fuelled Britain’s economic growth of the past but it is now high time to rid ourselves of our sweet tooth for debt. The Chancellor is right but his words are just a little hollow without an acknowledgement that the Government has contributed to the current credit crisis. The forthcoming comprehensive spending review would be a good opportunity for Mr Darling to follow his words with action. If his own finances were in order, his advice to the private sector would carry greater weight. [...]

Congestion Challenge

Britain's transport infrastructure is, quite simply, not fit for purpose. Heathrow, as the nation’s most important air travel hub, can only be described as inadequate. While all other major European airports have increased their capacity, it took more than two decades just to plan the new Terminal five and a third runway is nowhere in sight. Ground transport on Britain’s roads and rails is equally substandard. In no other European country can one find fewer roads per person. On average, for every Briton there are six metres of road. Even in the much more densely populated Netherlands, and in Japan, they have seven and nine metres per person respectively. [...]

Kein eigen Heim, Glück allein

Wer in England den Fernseher einschaltet, der hat im Wesentlichen die Wahl zwischen endlosen Variationen aus drei Grundprogrammen: Dokumentationen über den Zweiten Weltkrieg, Kochshows und „Schöner Wohnen“- Reportagen. Insbesondere die letzte Kategorie erfreut sich in jüngster Zeit wachsender Beliebtheit, denn die Briten haben für die eigenen vier Wände eine Leidenschaft entwickelt, mit der sie früher höchstens über das Wetter reden konnten. Nur leider ist Wohneigentum für viele Erstkäufer inzwischen unbezahlbar geworden. [...]

A house price nightmare

The current subprime mortgage crisis in the US was at least partly caused - and definitely exacerbated - by restrictive town planning policies. This has negatively affected affordability and led to a debt bubble which now spectacularly burst. If there is one lesson to learn from this, we have to make sure that house prices are not artificially inflated by planning policies. [...]