Making social science accessible

31 Jan 2024

9:00 am to 5:00 pm

One Great George Street, Great George Street, London, UK


Politics and Society

Join us at the UK in a Changing Europe economics conference, bringing together the latest thinking from UK economic and social science research on the key economic challenges for the UK and how they might be addressed. The conference launches our latest report, in which 15 leading UK economists set out their analysis and potential solutions. Drawing from academia, government, business and journalism, panels consider whether the current fiscal framework is fit for purpose, how public services could be improved, how an economic success can be made of net zero, as well as reexamining the tax and welfare system, and UK trade strategy.


9:00 Arrival

9.30 – 9:45 Welcome

Anand Menon, UKICE

9.45 – 10:30 The state of the UK economy/SWOT analysis

Sarah Hall [presentation] and Jonathan Portes, UKICE [presentation]

10.30 – 11:30 Past its sell-by date? Does the UK need a new macroeconomic and fiscal framework?

This panel will examine whether the current macroeconomic framework (based on inflation targeting to manage demand, and fiscal rules to ensure sustainability) and institutional set-up (HMT, BoE, OBR) remains appropriate.

Chair: Soumaya Keynes, The Financial Times


  • Carolina Alves, University College London
  • Ethan Iletzki, London School of Economics [presentation]
  • Michael Jacobs, University of Sheffield

11.30 – 11:50 Break

11.50 – 12:50 Tax and welfare – a fairer better system?

The UK has high levels of inequality of income and, increasingly, wealth; low levels of social mobility; and, combined with very large cuts to working age benefits over the last decade, rapidly increasing levels of poverty and deprivation. What reforms to the tax and benefit system and labour markets could address this?

Chair: Jonathan Portes, UKICE


  • Arun Advani, University of Warwick
  • Donald Houston, University of Birmingham and UKICE
  • Alex Beer, Nuffield Foundation

12.50 – 1:30  Lunch

1.30 – 2:30  Making an economic success of net zero

The UK’s approach to net zero has in some respects been world-leading, but has faltered recently. How can we get back on track and maximise the opportunities?

Chair: Jill Rutter, UKICE


  • David Bailey, University of Birmingham and UKICE
  • Sarah Hall, University of Cambridge and UKICE
  • Tera Allas, McKinsey [presentation]

2.30 – 3:30 Britain’s global economic and trade strategy

How do we “make Brexit work”? Or is this not feasible without major shifts of political strategy? Meanwhile, what does “Global Britain” mean and how does the UK adapt its approach to a potentially more protectionist world? 

Chair: Catherine Barnard, University of Cambridge and UKICE


  • Madeleine Sumption, University of Oxford [presentation]
  • Thomas Sampson, London School of Economics [presentation]
  •  Allie Renison, SEC Newgate

3.30 – 3:50 Break

3.50 – 4:50 How can we improve public services?

UK public services are – despite a relatively high tax burden by historic standards – visibly failing to keep up with demand, with public service productivity at best stagnant. In a constrained fiscal environment, what options are economically and politically feasible?

Chair: Anand Menon, UKICE


  • Ben Zaranko, Institute for Fiscal Studies [presentation]
  • Patrick Dunleavy, London School of Economics [presentation]
  • Sharon White, John Lewis Partnership

4.50 – 5:00 Close Anand Menon / Jonathan Portes, UKICE



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