The Birmingham Brief

The Birmingham Brief - intelligent thought on policy issues.

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Thursday 9th June 2011

Cash or Credit? UK public spending cuts and the IMF

Description
George Osborne has doggedly fought back at critics of the government's austerity strategy, repeating the mantra that sustaining the 'policy credibility' of UK plc with financial markets and investors is the paramount challenge facing this parliament. This week the Chancellor of the Exchequer has been able to draw on an apparent endorsement from the International Monetary Fund (IMF) for his agenda of public spending cuts and the Coalition's broader economic policy choices. But is the IMF's 'endorsement' all that the Chancellor makes it out to be?
Date:
Thursday 9th June 2011
Categories:
Research, Social Sciences
Tuesday 7th June 2011

Trident – time for a real debate?

Description
The Defence Secretary, Dr Liam Fox, has recently announced the approval of the Initial Gate Business Case for the replacement for the Vanguard Class nuclear submarines. The contracts for this phase are likely to be in the region of £3bn. However, the Defence Secretary admitted that the total cost was likely to reach £25bn by the time the boats are built. Given that the initial estimates prepared in 2006 were in the region of £15–20bn, the sceptics around Whitehall, who are well used to Ministry of Defense (MoD) 'guesstimations', anticipate the final bill being closer to £38bn.
Date:
Tuesday 7th June 2011
Categories:
Arts and Law, Research
Thursday 12th May 2011

Regulating the complementary health professions: is the government doing enough?

Description
About half of the UK population use complementary and alternative medicine (CAM) during their lifetimes. Yet despite this, successive governments have appeared remarkably reluctant to engage with the regulation of these therapeutic practices, despite its stated commitment to responsive and appropriate regulation of the health sector.
Date:
Thursday 12th May 2011
Categories:
Medical and Dental Sciences, Research, Social Sciences
Thursday 21st April 2011

A critical assessment of the 2011 UK multilateral and bilateral aid reviews

A critical assessment of the 2011 UK multilateral and bilateral aid reviews
Description
The Department for International Development (DFID) recently published a Multilateral Aid Review (MAR), critically assessing 43 different international organisations (IOs), agencies and private groups. It has concurrently conducted a Bilateral Aid Review (BAR) of its own operations. This brief shows that both reviews indicate an important shift in UK aid policies, whereby future development assistance will be based on the UK's vision of development rather than more traditional global indicators.
Date:
Thursday 21st April 2011
Categories:
Research, Social Sciences
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