Free papers, reports, et al. Vol.12

Here are @_WorldSolutions’ RTs which include free papers, reports/articles (citing others), and a video.


Free papers, reports, et al. Vol.10

Here are @_WorldSolutions’ RTs which include free papers and reports (citing others).


UK Vol.87 (Post-EUref #Brexit Vol.16: 2017 General Election – Conservative Party Manifesto)

Here is FORWARD TOGETHER: THE CONSERVATIVE MANIFESTO (issuu or PDF) in May 2017. Excerpts are on our own.

FOREWORD pp.4-5
…build a Great Meritocracy…

FIVE GIANT CHALLENGES pp.6-10
Strong and stable leadership
… Despite predictions of immediate financial and economic danger, we have seen confidence remain high, record numbers of jobs and economic growth that has exceeded all expectations. …
Five giant challenges
1. The need for a strong economy.
2. Brexit and a changing world.
3. Enduring social divisions.
4. An ageing society.
5. Fast-changing technology.
Governing from the mainstream
… Rather than pursue an agenda based on a supposed centre ground defined and established by elites in Westminster, we will govern in the interests of the mainstream of the British public. We will get on with the job and take Britain out of the European Union. …
…there will be no ideological crusades. …
We will govern in the interests of ordinary, working families
We believe in the good that government can do
… If we want to overcome Britain’s enduring social divisions, we will need to give people real opportunity and make Britain the world’s Great Meritocracy. That will require government to take on long-ignored problems like Britain’s lack of training and technical education, as well as long-lasting injustices…
Our principles
… Because Conservatism is not and never has been the philosophy described by caricaturists. We do not believe in untrammelled free markets. We reject the cult of selfish individualism. We abhor social division, injustice, unfairness and inequality. We see rigid dogma and ideology not just as needless but dangerous.
True Conservatism means a commitment to country and community; a belief not just in society but in the good that government can do; a respect for the local and national institutions that bind us together…
A vision of a stronger Britain and a prosperous future

1. A STRONG ECONOMY THAT WORKS FOR EVERYONE pp.11-27
p.12 Summary
p.13 A strong economy is the basis for everything we want to achieve as a nation.
pp.13-16 THE FOUNDATIONS OF A STRONG ECONOMY
Sound money and responsible public finances are the essential foundations of national economic success.
Keeping taxes as low as possible
Paying your fair share of tax is the price of living in a civilised democracy but politicians should never forget that taxes are levied on businesses that employ people, and individuals who work hard and face tough decisions about how they spend their money. …
By 2020, we will, as promised, increase the personal allowance to £12,500 and the higher rate to £50,000. We will continue to ensure that local residents can veto high increases in Council Tax via a referendum. And we will not increase the level of Value Added Tax.
Corporation Tax is due to fall to seventeen per cent by 2020 – the lowest rate of any developed economy – and we will stick to that plan, because it will help to bring huge investment and many thousands of jobs to the UK. …
Increasing trade
…we want to negotiate a new deep and special partnership with the EU, which will allow free trade between the UK and the EU’s member states. As part of the agreement we strike, we want to make sure that there are as few barriers to trade and investment as possible. Leaving the European Union also means we will be free to strike our own trade agreements with countries outside the EU.
We will ensure immediate stability by lodging new UK schedules with the World Trade Organization, in alignment with EU schedules to which we are bound whilst still a member of the European Union. …
We will create a network of Her Majesty’s Trade Commissioners to head nine new regional overseas posts. These commissioners will lead export promotion, investment and trade policy overseas. We will reconvene the Board of Trade with a membership specifically charged with ensuring that we increase exports from Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland as well as England, and that trade policy is directly influenced by every part of our United Kingdom. …
Effective regulation
…we will continue to regulate more efficiently, saving £9 billion through the Red Tape Challenge and the One-In-Two-Out Rule.
… We will therefore examine ways in which the regulation of utilities and transport infrastructure can be improved to deliver a better deal for customers and sharper incentives for investment efficiency.

pp.16-18 NEW RULES FOR A CHANGING ECONOMY
Conservatives believe that if you value something, you must be prepared to reform it in order to conserve it.
Guaranteeing a decent wage
…now receive a minimum of £7.50 an hour. A new Conservative government will continue to increase the National Living Wage to 60 per cent of median earnings by 2020 and then by the rate of median earnings…
Rights and protections in the ‘gig’ economy
…the government commissioned Matthew Taylor, the chief executive of the Royal Society of Arts, to review the changing labour market. We await his final report but a new Conservative government will act to ensure that the interests of employees on traditional contracts, the self-employed and those people working in the ‘gig’ economy are all properly protected.
Stopping tax evasion
… We will improve HMRC’s capabilities to stamp down on smuggling, including by improving our policing of the border as we leave the European Union. We will also take further measures to reduce online fraud in Value Added Tax.
Protecting private pensions
… A Conservative government will act to tighten the rules against such abuse, and increase the punishment for those caught mismanaging pension schemes. We will build on existing powers to give pension schemes and the Pensions Regulator the right to scrutinise, clear with conditions or in extreme cases stop mergers, takeovers or large financial commitments that threaten the solvency of the scheme. …
Reforming rules on takeovers and mergers
… We shall also take action to protect our critical national infrastructure. We will ensure that foreign ownership of companies controlling important infrastructure does not undermine British security or essential services. We have already strengthened ministerial scrutiny and control in respect of civil nuclear power and will take a similarly robust approach across a limited range of other sectors, such as telecoms, defence and energy.
Fair corporate pay
… Senior corporate pay has risen far faster than corporate performance, and the gap between those paid most and those paid least has grown from 47:1 in 1998 to 128:1 in 2015.
The next Conservative government will legislate to make executive pay packages subject to strict annual votes by shareholders and listed companies will have to publish the ratio of executive pay to broader UK workforce pay. …
Better corporate governance
… To ensure employees’ interests are represented at board level, we will change the law to ensure that listed companies will be required either to nominate a director from the workforce, create a formal employee advisory council or assign specific responsibility for employee representation to a designated non-executive director. …

pp.18-24 A MODERN INDUSTRIAL STRATEGY
Our modern industrial strategy is designed to deliver a stronger economy that works for everyone – where wealth and opportunity are spread across every community in the United Kingdom, not just the most prosperous places in London and the south east.
… We will spend more on research and development, to turn brilliant discoveries into practical products and transform the world’s industries – such as the batteries that will power a new generation of clean, efficient, electric vehicles. … We will build on the success of world-beating sectors such as car and aero manufacturing, financial services, life sciences, digital technology and our creative industries… We will deliver the infrastructure – the road, rail, airports and broadband – that businesses need.
Increasing innovation
University investment funds
National Productivity Investment Fund
…a new £23 billion… This will include £740 million of digital infrastructure investment, the largest investment in railways since Victorian times, £1.1 billion to improve local transport and £250 million in skills by the end of 2020. …will take total spending on housing, economic infrastructure and R&D to £170 billion during the next parliament.
Future Britain funds
…backing British infrastructure and the British economy. We anticipate early funds being created out of revenues from shale gas extraction, dormant assets, and the receipts of sale of some public assets. …
The skills we need
… We will therefore ask the independent Migration Advisory Committee to make recommendations to the government about how the visa system can become better aligned with our modern industrial strategy. …
…we will double the Immigration Skills Charge levied on companies employing migrant workers, to £2,000 a year by the end of the parliament, using the revenue generated to invest in higher level skills training for workers in the UK.
Backing small businesses
The Conservative Party is the party of enterprise and of the entrepreneur. …
…we will ensure that 33 per cent of central government purchasing will come from SMEs by the end of the parliament. …
…we will use our buying power to ensure that big contractors comply with the Prompt Payment Code both on government contracts and in their work with others. …
Supporting industries to succeed
Our modern industrial strategy is not about ‘planning’ the economy. …
…advanced manufacturing, such as aero and automotive engineering…
Other industries, like the oil and gas sector, are transforming. The North Sea has provided more than £300 billion in tax revenue to the UK economy and supports thousands of highly-skilled jobs across Britain. …
… Life sciences, for example, employs 175,000 people and many of the world’s top medicines have been developed in the UK. We will continue to support research into the diagnosis and treatment of rare cancers and other diseases, including Genomics England’s work in decoding 100,000 genomes. …
Competitive and affordable energy costs
… Our ambition is that the UK should have the lowest energy costs in Europe, both for households and businesses. So as we upgrade our energy infrastructure…
A diverse energy mix
…while we do not believe that more large-scale onshore wind power is right for England, we will maintain our position as a global leader in offshore wind and support the development of wind projects in the remote islands of Scotland, where they will directly benefit local communities.
Natural gas from shale
We will set up a new Shale Environmental Regulator, which will assume the relevant functions of the Health and Safety Executive, the Environment Agency and the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy. This will provide clear governance and accountability, become a source of expertise, and allow decisions to be made fairly but swiftly.
Finally, we will change the proposed Shale Wealth Fund so a greater percentage of the tax revenues from shale gas directly benefit the communities that host the extraction sites. …
Investing in transport
We are working through one of the largest-ever investment programmes in our roads and railways, putting some £40 billion into transport improvements…
…our programme of strategic national investments, including High Speed 2, Northern Powerhouse Rail and the expansion of Heathrow Airport…
… We want almost every car and van to be zero-emission by 2050 – and will invest £600 million by 2020 to help achieve it. …

pp.24-27 STRONGER COMMUNITIES FROM A STRONGER ECONOMY
Prosperous towns and cities across Britain
… We will hold a Great Exhibition of the North in 2018, to celebrate amazing achievements in innovation, the arts and engineering. We will support a UK city in making a bid to host the 2022 Commonwealth Games. And in this 70th Anniversary Year of the Edinburgh Festival we will support the development of the new Edinburgh Concert Hall, reaffirming Edinburgh as the UK’s leading festival city and a cultural beacon around the globe.
Our countryside communities
… We will help Natural England to expand their provision of technical expertise to farmers to deliver environmental improvements on a landscape scale, from enriching soil fertility to planting hedgerows and building dry stone walls. …
We will continue to take action to improve animal welfare. We will implement our proposed reforms on pet sales and licensing and will make CCTV recording in slaughterhouses mandatory. …
…decide the future of the Hunting Act.
…a comprehensive 25 Year Environment Plan…
Our coastal communities
… To provide complete legal certainty to our neighbours and clarity during our negotiations with the European Union, we will withdraw from the London Fisheries Convention…

2. A STRONG AND UNITED NATION IN A CHANGING WORLD pp.29-45
p.30 Summary
p.31 The United Kingdom is embarking upon another era in our centuries-old story.
pp.31-35 OUR PRECIOUS UNION
We are a United Kingdom, one nation made of four – the most successful political union in modern history.
England
Scotland
…the 2012 and 2016 Scotland Acts…
… The United Kingdom has voted to leave the European Union but some would disrupt our attempts to get the best deal for Scotland and the United Kingdom with calls for a divisive referendum that the people of Scotland do not want. We have been very clear that now is not the time for another referendum on independence. In order for a referendum to be fair, legal and decisive, it cannot take place until the Brexit process has played out and it should not take place unless there is public consent for it to happen. This is a time to pull together, not apart. …
… Building on the City and Growth deals we have signed across Scotland, we will bring forward a Borderlands Growth Deal, including all councils on both sides of the border, to help secure prosperity in southern Scotland. We will protect the interests of Scottish farmers and fishermen…
Wales
…The 2017 Wales Act…
… We will build on the Cardiff Capital region and Swansea Bay City region deals, and bring forward a North Wales Growth Deal… …such as linking economic development between Cardiff, Newport and Bristol. …
…S4C…the Welsh language…
Northern Ireland
…the 1998 Belfast Agreement…
A Conservative government will continue to work for the full implementation of the 2014 Stormont House and 2015 Fresh Start Agreements. This includes new bodies for addressing the legacy of the past in fair, balanced and proportionate ways which do not unfairly focus on former members of the Armed Forces and the Royal Ulster Constabulary. …
Shared institutions of Union
United Kingdom Shared Prosperity Fund

pp.35-37 LEAVING THE EUROPEAN UNION
… In her Lancaster House Speech, the prime minister laid out the twelve principles she intends to follow in seeking a new deep and special partnership with the European Union. We have explained our approach in the White Paper on the United Kingdom’s Exit from, and a new relationship with, the European Union, during the passage of the European Union (Notification of Withdrawal) Act, in the prime minister’s letter to the president of the European Council invoking Article 50, and in the Great Repeal Bill White Paper.
Repatriating EU law to the United Kingdom
…the rights of workers and protections given to consumers and the environment by EU law will continue to be available in UK law at the point at which we leave the EU. … Once EU law has been converted into domestic law, parliament will be able to pass legislation to amend, repeal or improve any piece of EU law it chooses, as will the devolved legislatures, where they have the power to do so.
… We will not bring the European Union’s Charter of Fundamental Rights into UK law. We will not repeal or replace the Human Rights Act while the process of Brexit is underway but we will consider our human rights legal framework when the process of leaving the EU concludes. We will remain signatories to the European Convention on Human Rights for the duration of the next parliament.

pp.37-41 GLOBAL BRITAIN
… We will continue to champion British values around the globe: freedom, democracy, tolerance and the rule of law. …
British leadership in international institutions
Global partnerships and alliances
…our proposed deep and special partnership with the European Union… …our existing special relationship with the United States… …our close links with our Commonwealth allies…
A global champion of free trade
Promoting British culture around the world
Leading the world in development
…we will maintain the commitment to spend 0.7 per cent of our gross national income on assistance to developing nations and international emergencies.
Reforming asylum
… Wherever possible, the government will offer asylum and refuge to people in parts of the world affected by conflict and oppression, rather than to those who have made it to Britain. We will work to reduce asylum claims made in Britain and, as we do so, increase the number of people we help in the most troubled regions. We will continue to work with other countries in Europe, and the United Nations, to review the international legal definitions of asylum and refugee status. …
Protecting the global environment
…the Paris Agreement. We were the first country to introduce a Climate Change Act, which Conservatives helped to frame, and we are halfway towards meeting our 2050 goal of reducing emissions by eighty per cent from 1990 levels.
… We will work with our Overseas Territory governments to create a Blue Belt of marine protection in their precious waters, establishing the largest marine sanctuaries anywhere in the world.
Modern slavery
… As home secretary, Theresa May brought forward the Modern Slavery Act, the first of its kind in Europe, appointed the world’s first anti-slavery commissioner and set up the Modern Slavery Taskforce to bring together the heads of MI5, MI6 and the National Crime Agency to coordinate our response to criminal gangs operating across the world. …

pp.41-42 STRONG DEFENCE IN AN UNCERTAIN WORLD
… We will retain the Trident continuous-at-sea nuclear deterrent to provide the ultimate guarantee of our security.
We have the biggest defence budget in Europe and the second largest in NATO. We will continue to meet the NATO commitment to spend at least 2 per cent of GDP on defence and we will increase the defence budget by at least 0.5 per cent above inflation in every year of the new parliament.
The finest servicemen and women
… Under a Conservative government, British troops will in future be subject to the Law of Armed Conflict, which includes the Geneva Convention and UK Service Law, not the European Court of Human Rights. We will strengthen legal services regulation and restrict legal aid for unscrupulous law firms that issue vexatious legal claims against the armed forces. …
The best equipment for our armed forces
We plan to invest £178 billion in new military equipment over the next decade, creating high-skilled jobs across the whole country. For the first time in a generation the Royal Navy is growing. …
…HMS Queen Elizabeth…HMS Prince of Wales… Alongside our new Type 45 destroyers, we will build eight Type 26 anti-submarine frigates… We shall also deliver five Offshore Patrol Vessels.
For the Army we will deliver AJAX armoured vehicles, Apache attack helicopters, new drones, new missile and bomb systems, and better equipment for the Special Forces. The Royal Air Force will receive, with the Fleet Air Arm, the Lightning II strike fighter, as well as new Maritime Patrol Aircraft. …
Supporting our veterans
…the Armed Forces Covenant. …a one year holiday on Employer National Insurance Contributions… …a Veterans Board in the Cabinet Office.

pp.42-45 THE HOME OF DEMOCRACY AND THE RULE OF LAW
…collective faith in our democratic institutions and our justice system has declined in the past two decades. …
A flourishing and secure democracy
… We will continue with the current boundary review, enshrining the principle of equal seats, while reducing the number of MPs to 600, similar to other Western democratic chambers. We will retain the first past the post system of voting for parliamentary elections and extend this system to police and crime commissioner and mayoral elections. We will retain the current franchise to vote in parliamentary elections at eighteen. We will repeal the Fixed-term Parliaments Act. …
Celebrating public service
… We will continue to fund schemes to get graduates from Britain’s leading universities to serve in schools, police forces, prisons, and social care and mental health organisations. These programmes are now some of the UK’s largest graduate employers, taking the brightest and best from our universities and using their talents to tackle entrenched social problems. …
Reforming the justice system
Standing up for victims
…the Unduly Lenient Sentence Scheme…
Strengthening the police and security services
… We will create a national infrastructure police force, bringing together the Civil Nuclear Constabulary, the Ministry of Defence Police and the British Transport Police to improve the protection of critical infrastructure such as nuclear sites, railways and the strategic road network. We will strengthen Britain’s response to white collar crime by incorporating the Serious Fraud Office into the National Crime Agency… …the National Cyber Security Centre…
Punishment and reform
… The £15 billion annual cost to society of reoffending shows we have so much more to do to make the penal system work better. …
We will invest over £1 billion to modernise the prison estate, replacing the most dilapidated prisons and creating 10,000 modern prison places. …

3. THE WORLD’S GREAT MERITOCRACY pp.47-60
p.48 Summary
pp.49-54 A COUNTRY FOUNDED ON MERIT
The greatest injustice in Britain today is that your life is still largely determined not by your efforts and talents but by where you come from, who your parents are and what schools you attend. This is wrong. …
More good school places
… There are still 1 million children in primary and secondary schools rated by Ofsted as ’requires improvement’ or ’inadequate’. If schools across the Midlands and north of England had the same average standards as those in the south, nearly 200,000 more children would be attending good schools. …
… We will replace the unfair and ineffective inclusivity rules that prevent the establishment of new Roman Catholic schools, instead requiring new faith schools to prove that parents of other faiths and none would be prepared to send their children to that school. We will work with the Independent Schools Council to ensure that at least 100 leading independent schools become involved in academy sponsorship or the founding of free schools in the state system…
A knowledge-rich curriculum
… To maintain progress as children go through secondary school, we will improve schools’ accountability at key stage 3. We will expect 75 per cent of pupils to have been entered for the EBacc combination of GCSEs by the end of the next parliament, with 90 per cent of pupils studying this combination of academic GCSEs by 2025. …
Supporting teachers
… We will increase the overall schools budget by £4 billion by 2022, representing more than a real terms increase for every year of the parliament. We will continue to protect the Pupil Premium to support those who need it. …
World-class technical education
… We have already introduced high quality apprenticeships that can reach to degree level and beyond for the 200,000 young people who choose to enter full-time vocational study after their GCSEs each year. …
We will start by replacing 13,000 existing technical qualifications with new qualifications, known as T-levels, across fifteen routes in subjects including construction, creative and design, digital, engineering and manufacturing, and health and science. We will increase the number of teaching hours by fifty per cent to an average of 900 hours per year and make sure that each student does a three-month work placement as part of their course. …
… We will deliver our commitment to create 3 million apprenticeships for young people by 2020 and in doing so we will drive up the quality of apprenticeships to ensure they deliver the skills employers need. …
Career learning
More people in work
…we will offer a holiday on their employers’ National Insurance Contributions for a full year. …

pp.54-55 A COUNTRY THAT COMES TOGETHER
Controlling immigration
…with annual net migration standing at 273,000, immigration to Britain is still too high. …
Integrating divided communities
…help women in particular into the workplace, and teach more people to speak English. …
Defeating extremism
a Commission for Countering Extremism

pp.55-58 CONFRONTING BURNING INJUSTICES
To make Britain the world’s Great Meritocracy…we must look beyond divisions in educational opportunity.
The gender pay gap
… We will require companies with more than 250 employees to publish more data on the pay gap between men and women. …
The race gap
The mental health gap
…since 2010 we have increased spending on mental health each year to a record £11.4 billion in 2016/17, with a further investment of £1 billion by 20/21…
The disability gap
…the landmark Disability Discrimination Act of 1995. …
Preventing domestic violence
Reducing homelessness
…full implementation of the Homelessness Reduction Act. Our aim will be to halve rough sleeping over the course of the parliament and eliminate it altogether by 2027. …

pp.59-60 CUTTING THE COST OF LIVING
Fair markets for consumers
… As Conservatives, we believe in markets as the best means to bring about prosperity and innovation, but we should act firmly and fast when a market works against the interests of consumers. Since 2010, we have capped the cost of credit for expensive payday lenders and will shortly ban letting agent fees. …
… We will strengthen the powers of consumer enforcement bodies to order fines against companies breaking consumer law and deliver redress for wronged parties. … We will strengthen the hand of online consumers. …
… A Conservative government will reform and modernise the home-buying process so it is more efficient and less costly. We will crack down on unfair practices in leasehold, such as escalating ground rents. We will also improve protections for those who rent… We will make billing for telecoms customers fairer and easier to understand… We will reduce insurance costs for ordinary motorists by cracking down on exaggerated and fraudulent whiplash claims. …
Fair energy markets
… First, we will ensure that smart meters will be offered to every household and business by the end of 2020…
… We will introduce a safeguard tariff cap that will extend the price protection…
… We will improve the energy efficiency of existing homes, especially for the least well off, by committing to upgrading all fuel poor homes to EPC Band C by 2030. …
Fair debt
…a “Breathing Space” scheme…

4. A RESTORED CONTRACT BETWEEN THE GENERATIONS pp.61-73
p.62 Summary
pp.63-64 DEALING WITH THE DEFICIT
… Conservatives believe in balancing the books and paying down debts – because it is wrong to pass to future generations a bill you cannot or will not pay yourself. …

pp.64-66 AN AGEING SOCIETY
Guaranteed annual increases in the state pension
A decade ago, pensions were in crisis and poverty blighted the retirement of many older people. It was wrong and it has been a Conservative government that has helped to put it right. By introducing the Pensions Triple Lock and the new State Pension, we have lifted the incomes of millions of older people, reducing pensioner poverty to historically low levels. …2020, and when it expires we will introduce a new Double Lock, meaning that pensions will rise in line with the earnings that pay for them, or in line with inflation – whichever is highest. …
… We will promote long-term savings and pensions products, including the Lifetime ISA, to encourage and incentivise more people to make provision for long-term needs, including a house purchase and retirement.
A long-term plan for elderly care
… We have already taken immediate action, putting £2 billion into the social care system and allowing councils to raise more money for care themselves from Council Tax. …
Under the current system, care costs deplete an individual’s assets, including in some cases the family home, down to £23,250 or even less.
First, we will align the future basis for means-testing for domiciliary care with that for residential care, so that people are looked after in the place that is best for them. This will mean that the value of the family home will be taken into account along with other assets and income, whether care is provided at home, or in a residential or nursing care home.
Second, to ensure this is fair, we will introduce a single capital floor, set at £100,000, more than four times the current means test threshold. This will ensure that, no matter how large the cost of care turns out to be, people will always retain at least £100,000 of their savings and assets, including value in the family home.
Third, we will extend the current freedom to defer payments for residential care to those receiving care at home, so no-one will have to sell their home in their lifetime to pay for care.
the Dilnot Report
…our forthcoming green paper will also address system-wide issues to improve the quality of care and reduce variation in practice. This will ensure the care system works better with the NHS to reduce unnecessary and unhealthy hospital stays and delayed transfers of care, and provide better quality assurance within the care sector. …
…we will meanstest Winter Fuel Payments, focusing assistance on the least well-off pensioners, who are most at risk of fuel poverty. …

pp.66-70 OUR NATIONAL HEALTH SERVICE
The money and people the NHS needs
First, we will increase NHS spending by a minimum of £8 billion in real terms over the next five years…
Second… Last year we announced an increase in the number of students in medical training of 1,500 a year…
Third, we will ensure that the NHS has the buildings and technology it needs to deliver care properly and efficiently. …
Fourth…we will recover the cost of medical treatment from people not resident in the UK. … And we will increase the Immigration Health Surcharge, to £600 for migrant workers and £450 for international students…
Fifth, we will implement the recommendations of the Accelerated Access Review to make sure that patients get new drugs and treatments faster…
Holding NHS leaders to account
…NHS England… …the Five Year Forward View. … We will also back the implementation of the plan at a local level, through the Sustainability and Transformation Plans…
…in time for the start of the 2018 financial year, we will make non-legislative changes to remove barriers to the integration of care.
We will introduce a new GP contract to help develop wider primary care services. …
We will also help the million and more NHS clinicians and support staff develop the skills they need…
Exceptional standards of care, wherever, whenever
…we will make clinical outcomes more transparent so that clinicians and frontline staff can learn more easily from the best units and practices, and where there is clear evidence of poor patient outcomes, we will take rapid corrective action. …
…we will give patients, via digital means or over the phone, the ability to book appointments, contact the 111 service, order repeat prescriptions, and access and update aspects of their care records, as well as control how their personal data is used. …
…waiting times data for A&Es… …our National Diabetes Prevention Programme…
… Already 17 million people can get routine weekend or evening appointments at either their own GP surgery or one nearby, and this will expand to the whole population by 2019. …
We will retain the 95 per cent A&E target and the 18-week elective care standard…
… We will extend the scope of the CQC to cover the health-related services commissioned by local authorities. …
In cancer services, we will deliver the new promise to give patients a definitive diagnosis within 28 days by 2020…

pp.70-72 HOMES FOR ALL
… We will meet our 2015 commitment to deliver a million homes by the end of 2020 and we will deliver half a million more by the end of 2022. We will deliver the reforms proposed in our Housing White Paper to free up more land for new homes in the right places…
…maintaining the existing strong protections on designated land like the Green Belt, National Parks and Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty. …government building 160,000 houses on its own land. …
We will enter into new Council Housing Deals with ambitious, pro-development, local authorities to help them build more social housing. …
…sold privately after ten to fifteen years with an automatic Right to Buy for tenants… We will enter into new Council Housing Deals with ambitious, pro-development, local authorities to help them build more social housing. …
…we will continue our £2.5 billion flood defence programme that will put in place protection for 300,000 existing homes by 2021.

pp.72-73 CHILDREN AND FAMILIES
High-quality childcare
…a Conservative government will introduce, this year, thirty hours of free childcare for three and four-year-olds for working parents who find it difficult to manage the costs of childcare… …we will immediately institute a capital fund to help primary schools develop nurseries where they currently do not have the facilities to provide one…
Children’s and young people’s health
… We are seeing progress: smoking rates are now lower than France or Germany, drinking rates have fallen below the European average and teenage pregnancies are at record lows. …
… Half of all mental health conditions become established in people before the age of fourteen. … A Conservative
government will publish a green paper on young people’s mental health before the end of this year. …
Protecting vulnerable children and families
… Placing a child under the oversight of social services and taking a child into care are amongst the most serious duties the state may discharge. We will demand all local authorities be commissioners of the highest-quality family support and child protection services, removing these responsibilities from the weakest councils and placing them in trust. We will ensure that councils provide consistency of care and cannot relocate vulnerable children far from their home when it is not in their best interests to do so. We will review support for Children in Need to understand why their outcomes are so poor and what more support they might require, in and out of school.
Finally, we shall explore ways to improve the family justice system. The family courts need to do more to support families, valuing the roles of mothers and fathers, while ensuring parents face up to their responsibilities.

5. PROSPERITY AND SECURITY IN A DIGITAL AGE pp.75-83
p.76 Summary
p.77 … These new technologies provide us with new and faster ways to communicate, learn, travel, have fun and do business. They accelerate the pace of change – ushering in new norms in the space of years rather than decades; challenging our laws and regulations to keep pace.
pp.77-80 A DIGITAL CHARTER
The best place for digital business
…our world-leading Enterprise Investment Scheme and Seed Enterprise Investment Scheme… …open new offices of the British Business Bank in Birmingham, Bristol, Cambridge, Edinburgh, Manchester and Newport… When we leave the European Union, we will fund the British Business Bank with the repatriated funds from the European Investment Fund.
… By the end of this year, 19 out of 20 premises will have access to superfast broadband and our Universal Service Obligation will ensure that by 2020 every home and every business in Britain has access to high speed broadband. … We will introduce a full fibre connection voucher for companies across the country by 2018 and by 2022 we will have major fibre spines in over a hundred towns and cities, with ten million premises connected to full fibre…
… By 2022 we will extend mobile coverage further to 95 per cent geographic coverage of the UK. By the same date, all major roads and main line trains will enjoy full and uninterrupted mobile phone signal, alongside guaranteed WiFi internet service on all such trains. …
The safest place to be online
… We will put a responsibility on industry not to direct users – even unintentionally – to hate speech, pornography, or other sources of harm. …
… To create a sound ethical framework for how data is used, we will institute an expert Data Use and Ethics Commission…
…we will bring forward a new data protection law…to ensure the very best standards for the safe, flexible and dynamic use of data and enshrining our global leadership…the National Data Guardian for Health and Social Care on a statutory footing…
We will continue with our £1.9 billion investment in cyber security and build on the successful establishment of the National Cyber Security Centre…
A free media
…the Leveson Inquiry… We will repeal Section 40 of the Crime and Courts Act 2014…

pp.80-82 DIGITAL GOVERNMENT AND PUBLIC SERVICES
… We will therefore create a new presumption of digital government services by default and an expectation that all government services are fully accessible online, with assisted digital support available for all public sector websites. …local issues and public transport…roadworks, planning applications and bus routes… …’schools maps’…
…central and local government will be required to release information regularly and in an open format, and data will be aggregated and anonymised where it is important to do so. We will incubate more digital services within government and introduce digital transformation fellowships…
…we shall roll out Verify, so that people can identify themselves on all government online services by 2020, using their own secure data that is not held by government. … …the ’Once-Only’ principle in central government services by 2022 and wider public services by 2025. …
Digital infrastructure
… We are leading the world in preparing for autonomous vehicles and will press ahead with our plans to use digital technology to improve our railways… Smart grids will make the most efficient use of our electricity infrastructure and electric vehicles, and we will use technology to manage our airspace better to reduce noise pollution and improve capacity. …
Digital land
…the property development industry… …we will combine the relevant parts of HM Land Registry, Ordnance Survey, the Valuation Office Agency, the Hydrographic Office and Geological Survey to create a comprehensive geospatial data body within government…

pp.82-83 A FRAMEWORK FOR DATA AND THE DIGITAL ECONOMY
Some people say that it is not for government to regulate when it comes to technology and the internet. We disagree. …
An international settlement
…a framework for data ethics…

CONCLUSION p.84


Canada Vol.33 (Québec Vol.2)

cf. Canada Vol.3 (Québec)     THE QUÉBEC ECONOMIC PLAN (PDF; 3/2017) | @FinancesQuebec       Too Much Tax Kills (9/26/2013) | Michel Kelly-Gagnon @ Montreal Economic Institute @HuffPostCanada      Quebec’s Economic Future: A Hard Road Ahead (9/6/2012) | @HodgsonGlen @confboardofcda      Quebec’s economy through the lens of GDP: Gains outweigh losses (PDF; 4-5/2015) | @DesjardinsGroup      When it comes to the economy, Quebec has earned top bragging rights in Canada (w Videos & Voice; 4/10/2017) | @ealini @globalnews        Lack of transfer plan could doom small Quebec business (3/15/2017) | @business @mtlgazette        A More Equitable Economy Exists Right Next Door – In Quebec, co-ops and non-profit businesses account for 8-10 percent of GDP (3/22/2017) | @JayWalljasper @AlterNet        Montreal flood-zone map for hard-hit Pierrefonds is decades out of date (5/12/2017) | @jbernstien & @robroc @CBC        @TourismQuebec        History of Quebec | ProvinceQuebec     Québec-France Agreement on the Mutual Recognition of professional Qualifications (3/17/2017) | @MRIF_Quebec

2017floodEasternCanada


Australia Vol.9 (Western Australia)

cf. Activists have Icahn-style opportunities in Australia (10/30/2014) | @business @nzherald


Australia Vol.8


US Policy Changes Vol.33 (Miscellaneous Vol.3 – corporate interaction on innovation)

Here is an academic article on corporate interaction on innovation: The Benefits and Liabilities of Interacting for Innovation: a Quantitative Model (9/21/2014) | Levine, S. S., Gorman, T., & Prietula, M. J. [In K. Pugh (Ed.), Smarter Innovation: using interactive processes to drive better business results (pp. 111-119)] @ArkGroup @SSRN. This could be a hint for considering policy changes on deregulation, R&D, et al. Excerpt is on our own.

@SSRN
Abstract:
… Combining qualitative fieldwork – interviews, observation, and document analysis – with mathematical modeling, they show that sharing can benefit performance, matter little, or even harm it. The effect of sharing on performance depends on a least three variables (and likely more): the learning capacity of individuals in the organization, the state of organizational memory, and turbulence in the competitive environment. …

PDF
pIX Executive summary
… Only recently have innovation researchers begun to look at the rich microprocesses that operate within the interactions of individuals and groups. And few of those researchers have focused on the knowledge-related microprocesses. (In this context, “knowledge-related” refers to knowledge sharing, knowledge integration, sense making, and filtering – all of which play a role in catalyzing connections, testing innovation candidates for potential, and participating in myriad decisions about markets, capabilities, and industries.)
Smarter Innovation
…Peter Drucker, Eric Von Hippel, Clayton Christensen, Andy Hargedon, and Boynton, Fischer, and Bole…
…knowledge processes and microprocesses for innovation…

pX This report looks at innovation through the prism of five innovation “dimensions”, which reflect various knowledge-related interactions in the path to market (or operations) innovation. …
1. Bridging …a meeting or crowd-sourcing process integrating ideas across contexts, as AirBNB merges auctions and regional inventory, and Craig’s list merges social and for-sale listings.
2. Social and operational integration …a company discussing a product innovation on a social network, a community of practice debating an idea, or a town hall deliberating a process improvement.
3. Capabilities validation …UPS’s introspection as it assessed its readiness to go from shipper to logistician.
4. Market and industry exploration …an eCommerce firm using decision heuristics and clickstream data to identify unmet site-visitor needs. …
5. Commercialization …a family restaurant realizing when it’s better to reprice, rather than trim menu items, when the restaurant’s reputation as the “one stop shop” is at stake.

pXI We visit manufacturing, telecom, professional services, and computer hardware industries, to name a few. This extraordinary collaboration brings to mind a prescient quote by philosopher John Stuart Mill (1806–1873): “It is hardly possible to overrate the value… of placing human beings in contact with persons dissimilar to themselves, and with modes of thought and action unlike those with which they are familiar… Such communication has always been, and is peculiarly in the present age, one of the primary sources of progress.” …

Chapter 14: The benefits and liabilities of interacting for innovation: A quantitative model
p111 … For instance, when the management of Yahoo canceled its work-from-home scheme, they justified the decision by reasoning that “some of the best decisions and insights come from hallway and cafeteria discussions, meeting new people, and impromptu team meetings”. When leading General Electric, former CEO Jack Welch often spoke of “getting every brain in the game” as a means to generate ideas and spread practices. …

p112 …yet we rarely hear about the potential downsides of sharing. Few of the examples account for the costs of sharing. These costs can be direct: organizations invest to support knowledge sharing. … Even fewer of the anecdotes account for the indirect costs, including opportunity costs, which we begin to quantify here. Whether you are the one seeking to discover new information, or the one invited to share your expertise, whether in a momentary encounter by the water cooler or on a scheduled offsite retreat, you must forgo other activities to participate in sharing. …
…the effect of sharing on innovation. We systematically compare what employees could achieve on their own, without sharing, to what they can achieve when sharing. … Depending on specific characteristics and circumstances, sharing can enhance innovation, matter little, or even harm it. …
…the benefits of sharing are lower in organizations that operate in a turbulent or disruptive environment, that provide better support for employee learning, or that have stronger organizational memory (such as a knowledge management system).
… those that operate in a stable business environment, that provide little support for employee learning, or those whose organizational memory is weak. …

The research: From field observations to a quantitative model
… However, when in need, a member can access knowledge that resides somewhere else; in books and reports, in standard operating procedures and presentations – and in the minds of other members of the firm. …
They self-teach

p113 by accessing inanimate (asocial) knowledge, for example by reading a report; they consult close associates or friends; they barter or trade for knowledge, inside or outside the organization; or they search broadly for peers who are willing to share their knowledge.
… Such broad sharing means not only that “every brain is in the game” – that one can seek help from any other member of the organization – but also that help has no strings attached, no expectations of direct reciprocity now or in the future. …our analysis is most cautious: liabilities we find here are likely amplified when sharing is less extensive. In other words, if extensive sharing can become a liability, it is certainly true for less extensive forms, such as sharing in teams or when reciprocity is expected.
… This method was honed in the natural sciences and engineering, where performance – whether the survival of a pride of lions, the speed of an airplane, or the stability of a building – may be affected, jointly and simultaneously, by a multitude of variables. …
The model portrays an organization composed of employees. The organization faces a large innovation project, such as developing a new product, entering a new market, or resolving a manufacturing problem. As is done in organizations, the project is broken into tasks that are assigned to individuals, teams, and organizational units: somebody has to model the cash flow or a marketing team is tasked with producing advertising materials. To complete the tasks, the employees need knowledge. And if they do not have all the knowledge necessary, they supplement either by self-teaching or by seeking help from others.
The relative values of the two paths to knowledge, “self-learning” and “extensive sharing”, could be affected by various conditions, so the model features three:
1. The average capability of individual employees to learn: People differ in their learning capability, and we are interested in how differences in the capability of individuals, averaged across the organization (or unit), affect the benefits of sharing.
2. The scope of organizational memory: Organizational memory is the “stored

p114 information from an organization’s history that can be brought to bear on present decisions. …
3. … In the firm, no two projects were identical, leaving members struggling to determine how applicable knowledge obtained elsewhere – in a different region or industry, or at an earlier time – was to a current task. …
…how differences in turbulence (or stability) of the competitive environment, which may depreciate knowledge, affects the benefits of sharing.

… We intentionally chose variables at the individual, organizational, and industry levels. This wider lens enables us to account not only for individual behavior, as has been done elsewhere, but also for the interplay of industry dynamics on performance.
…organizational members are in one of three modes: working on their own tasks (which could include teamwork, attending meetings, etc.), searching for others who may be willing (and able) to share, or replying to an incoming sharing request from another. …
Ultimately, we want to understand how sharing affects performance; and performance can be defined in various ways. …

p115 The findings: When sharing benefits innovation; when it doesn’t
…the effect of sharing on innovation is highly contingent: the exact effect of sharing on innovation depends on at least three conditions… Depending on the circumstances, sharing can benefit innovation, play no role, or even harm innovation. …Table 1.

Individual implications
…when individual learning capability increases, the value of peer sharing decreases. The more people can teach themselves, the lesser is the value of others’ knowledge…

p116 Secondly, sharing benefits least when the company has invested in the other, asocial elements of organizational memory: libraries, databases, reports, and other inanimate source of knowledge. …
Finally, if the company operates in a turbulent environment, one in which knowledge depreciates quickly, employees should rarely seek peer advice.

p117 …seeking an expert takes time and taxes the expert, but if the environment has changed since the expert acquired her knowledge, the effort may be wasteful, even risky. …

Team implications
…teams often undermine the performance of individual members, and larger teams are worse. …
…first, teams solving innovative problems may benefit from recruiting members to maximize disparities in knowledge. …
… If members have similar knowledge, experience, or views, there is little to be gained from sharing: it will likely just entrench existing views, a risky tendency in teams. Members should also recognize that turbulent environment depreciates knowledge…

p118 … Finally, they should explicitly discuss the costs of peer-to-peer knowledge sharing …

Organizational implications
…investments in asocial knowledge sources, such as standard operating procedures or organizational depositories, are seldom compared explicitly with investments in peer-to-peer sharing, such as water cooler conversations. …
…companies should equally value the skills of self-learning, especially where the environment is turbulent.

To share, or not to share?
…the greatest benefit from sharing may be in low-tech organizations, such as capital-intensive manufacturing and established service organizations, not in knowledge-intensive ones. …
… In situations where customer preferences are rapidly changing, new players are entering, technology is evolving, or the regulatory environment is in flux, innovation is valuable…


Indexes Vol.4 (The Global Competitiveness Index 2016-2017 – methodology, et al.)

Here are our excerpts concerning #GCI methodology, et al. of @wef’s The Global Competitiveness Report 2016–2017 (w PDF).

PDF
CHAPTER 1.1 Competitiveness Agendas to Reignite Growth: Findings from the Global Competitiveness Index p5-11
Monetary policy is not enough: Insufficient competitiveness is a constraint for reigniting growth worldwide
… Figure 2 shows how economies that perform poorly in the GCI have seen their central banks boost their balance sheets more than better-performing economies, and yet those with higher competitiveness have recovered faster from the financial crisis and ensuing recession, achieving faster growth rates. The fact that monetary stimulus has been more effective and growth has been higher in more competitive economies, regardless of fiscal policies followed, suggests that the constraints may be on the supply side. Improving the conditions for businesses to flourish and increase their productivity is therefore the main policy challenge for advanced and emerging economies alike.
figure23
At the dawn of the Fourth Industrial Revolution era, technology and innovation are increasingly driving development
… Innovation and business sophistication are more closely associated with income levels in general, and in emerging economies and commodity-exporting economies in particular, than they used to be. Figure 3 shows how, since 2010, for these two groups, GDP per capita has become more closely correlated with the GCI’s technological readiness, business sophistication, and innovation pillars than it is with the infrastructure, health and primary education, and market-related pillars (goods markets efficiency, financial market development, and labor market efficiency). These results illustrate how sources of productivity within firms and production units that are related to their ability to incorporate new technologies into their production processes, and that change the ways in which those firms and units perform tasks, are playing a larger role than investment in basic physical and human capital and well-functioning factor and goods markets, frequently thought to be sufficient to reignite growth. It also shows how the price changes experienced since the end of the commodity cycle and faster technological change are creating incentives for firms and policymakers to engage in more innovative activities.
figure45
Declining openness is endangering future growth and prosperity
An open, trading economy generates incentives to innovate and invest in new technologies because firms are exposed to competition and new ideas and can benefit from the technology transfer that comes from mports and foreign investment. … protectionist measures, especially non-tariff barriers, have increased and global trade has not recovered since the global trade slowdown following the financial crisis. Figure 4 illustrates that, according to GCI data, economies in all income groups have become less open since 2007, driven mainly by non-tariff barriers, including increased legal and normative requirements. Figure 5 shows that economies that are open to foreign competition (as measured by the foreign competition subpillar of the GCI) are also more innovative, suggesting the importance of openness for innovation. …

Appendix A: Methodology and Computation of the Global Competitiveness Index 2016–2017 p35-37
weights-classificationpillar123
1st pillar: Institutions
The institutional environment of a country depends on the efficiency and the behavior of both public and private stakeholders. The legal and administrative framework within which individuals, firms, and governments interact determines the quality of the public institutions of a country and has a strong bearing on competitiveness and growth. It influences investment decisions and the organization of production and plays a key role in the ways in which societies distribute the benefits and bear the costs of development strategies and policies. Good private institutions are also important for the sound and sustainable development of an economy. The 2007–08 global financial crisis, along with numerous corporate scandals, has highlighted the relevance of accounting and reporting standards and transparency for preventing fraud and mismanagement, ensuring good governance, and maintaining investor and consumer confidence.
6th pillar: Goods market efficiency
Countries with efficient goods markets are well positioned to produce the right mix of products and services given their particular supply-and-demand conditions, as well as to ensure that these goods can be most effectively traded in the economy. Healthy market competition, both domestic and foreign, is important in driving market efficiency, and thus business productivity, by ensuring that the most efficient firms, producing goods demanded by the market, are those that thrive. Market efficiency also depends on demand conditions such as customer orientation and buyer sophistication. For cultural or historical reasons, customers may be more demanding in some countries than in others. This can create an important competitive advantage, as it forces companies to be more innovative and customer-oriented and thus imposes the discipline necessary for efficiency to be achieved in the market.
pillar4567pillar89101112
7th pillar: Labor market efficiency
The efficiency and flexibility of the labor market are critical for ensuring that workers are allocated to their most effective use in the economy and provided with incentives to give their best effort in their jobs. Labor markets must therefore have the flexibility to shift workers from one economic activity to another rapidly and at low cost, and to allow for wage fluctuations without much social disruption. Efficient labor markets must also ensure clear strong incentives for employees and promote meritocracy at the workplace, and they must provide equity in the business environment between women and men. Taken together these factors have a positive effect on worker performance and the attractiveness of the country for talent, two aspects of the labor market that are growing more important as talent shortages loom on the horizon.
8th pillar: Financial market development
An efficient financial sector allocates the resources saved by a nation’s population, as well as those entering the economy from abroad, to the entrepreneurial or investment projects with the highest expected rates of return rather than to the politically connected. Business investment is critical to productivity. Therefore economies require sophisticated financial markets that can make capital available for private-sector investment from such sources as loans from a sound banking sector, well-regulated securities exchanges, venture capital, and other financial products. In order to fulfill all those functions, the banking sector needs to be trustworthy and transparent, and—as has been made so clear recently—financial markets need appropriate regulation to protect investors and other actors in the economy at large.
11th pillar: Business sophistication
Business sophistication concerns two elements that are intricately linked: the quality of a country’s overall business networks and the quality of individual firms’ operations and strategies. These factors are especially important for countries at an advanced stage of development when, to a large extent, the more basic sources of productivity improvements have been exhausted. The quality of a country’s business networks and supporting industries, as measured by the quantity and quality of local suppliers and the extent of their interaction, is important for a variety of reasons. When companies and suppliers from a particular sector are interconnected in geographically proximate groups, called clusters, efficiency is heightened, greater opportunities for innovation in processes and products are created, and barriers to entry for new firms are reduced.
12th pillar: Innovation
The last pillar focuses on innovation. Innovation is particularly important for economies as they approach the frontiers of knowledge, and the possibility of generating more value by merely integrating and adapting exogenous technologies tends to disappear. In these economies, firms must design and develop cutting-edge products and processes to maintain a competitive edge and move toward even higher value-added activities. This progression requires an environment that is conducive to innovative activity and supported by both the public and the private sectors. In particular, it means sufficient investment in research and development (R&D), especially by the private sector; the presence of high-quality scientific research institutionsthat can generate the basic knowledge needed to build the new technologies; extensive collaboration in research and technological developments between universities and industry; and the protection of intellectual property.

Appendix B: Global Competitiveness Index 2016–2017 rankings p43-50
table1-p44table3-p48table3-p49table4-p50

CHAPTER 1.2 Modernizing the Measurement of Drivers of Prosperity in Light of the Fourth Industrial Revolution: The Updated Global Competitiveness Index
p56-57 SELECTED ISSUES: DISCUSSION AND PRELIMINARY RESULTS
Four subindexes
Innovation
table4-p61
According to the latest thinking, innovation occurs in an ecosystem where businesses, regulations, and social norms promote connectivity, creativity, entrepreneurship, collaboration, and the adoption of the latest technologies to generate new ideas and bring new products and business models to market. These concepts are measured by four pillars: technological adoption, market size, business dynamism, and innovation capacity. … As long as new ideas cannot find a practical implementation they might contribute to knowledge accumulation but they do not immediately translate into advances in human welfare. In some cases finding a practical application for a new idea is just a matter of time, because technological progress in other fields has to occur before these ideas can be put into practical use. It is, however, crucial for a country to develop the skills and the conditions that can ignite the process of transforming abstract innovation into new products and processes.

Appendix: Updated Global Competitiveness Index Structure p63-75

CHAPTER 1.3 The Executive Opinion
Survey: The Voice of the Business Community
box2-figure1-p84box2-figure2-p85


Ireland Vol.8 (Economic Crises and the Changing Influence of the Irish Congress of Trade Unions on Public Policy)

Here is a paper, Economic Crises and the Changing Influence of the Irish Congress of Trade Unions @irishcongress on Public Policy (PDF, 2010) | Dr John Hogan, Dublin Institute of Technology @ditofficial. Underlines, italicization, excerpts, et al. are on our own.

Abstract

This chapter examines the dramatic changes in the Irish Congress of Trade Unions’ (ICTU) influence over public policy during the latter half of the twentieth century.  The chapter focuses upon the impact economic crises have had on the ICTU’s role in policy-making.  The chapter concentrates, in particular, upon four periods, the late 1950s, 1970, the early 1980s and 1987, when the ICTU found its influence over public policy radically transformed.  By the late 1950s the trade union movement was invited into the policy-making process by a government desperate to revive a sclerotic economy.  During the following decade the ICTU played an integral part in the development of economic and social programmes.  In 1970, due to concerns over inflation and the increasing level of industrial disputes, the ICTU, initially under government pressure, became a party to centralised bargaining.  The National Wage Agreements that the ICTU was a party to during that decade were marked by their integration with government budgetary policy.  With active state involvement in industrial relations came ICTU involvement in policy-making.  However, by the early 1980s the Irish economy was in serious difficulties again.  This, combined with trade union and employer disillusionment that the centralised agreements were not achieving their respective objectives of full employment and low inflation and a new collation government determined to remove the unions from the corridors of power, led to the collapse of the national agreements and ICTU finding itself shut out of the policy-making process.  The years afterwards saw the economy continue to stagnate and the ICTU marginalised as a policymaking influence.  By 1987, with Ireland teetering on the brink of bankruptcy, a new Fianna Fáil government came to power seeking to promote a three year national pay agreement with the unions and employers, in the hopes of reviving the economy.  The ICTU, weakened through marginalisation and membership losses, favoured a return to centralised pay agreements.  However, these agreements ultimately came to encompass a wide range of economic/social policy commitments that went far beyond the agreements of the 1970s.

INTRODUCTION

Over the last half century, there has been a series of dramatic changes in the influence of the Irish Congress of Trade Unions (ICTU) on public policy.  This chapter examines those changes, highlighting the circumstances under which they occurred and the kinds of influence the ICTU gained and lost, as a result of its fluctuating fortunes.

By the late 1950s, the Irish economy was in serious difficulty and a mood of despair pervaded society.  Into this environment came Seán Lemass, the new Taoiseach and leader of the largest party, Fianna Fáil.  Lemass introduced new ideas on how to manage the economy and how to reform the country’s relationship with the world.  His ideas and influence transformed economic policy and had a profound influence on the role of trade unions in the formulation of public policy.

The growing economic openness of the 1960s produced incentives for new patterns of collective bargaining.  Ireland had come to rely on foreign direct investment (FDI) to promote industrialisation and employment.  In response, from the 1970s onwards, public policy was directed towards minimising strikes and restraining pay increases: ‘the then Fianna Fáil government of Jack Lynch brought the trade union movement into the policy-making process as a way of ensuring economic stability’.

However, by the early 1980s, the economy had deteriorated.  Although centralised agreements between the employers, the government and the ICTU were the hallmark of industrial relations during the 1970s, they were not achieving the unions’ objectives.  This led to reluctance on the part of the ICTU to continue participating in these agreements.  Irrespective of the unions’ attitude, they were excluded from the policy-making environment by the Fine Gael and Labour coalition government (1982-1987) as economic decline gathered momentum.

By 1987, the economy reached a historic nadir.  In response, a new Fianna Fáil minority administration sought a centralised pay agreement with the ICTU and the employers, bringing the unions’ influence directly back into the corridors of power.  This was to be the first of a series of such agreements.  The social partnership born of these agreements contributed to the transformation of society over the following decades.

The chapter is divided into four sections, each one of which deals with a particular period – the late 1950s–mid 1960s, mid 1960s–late 1970s, the early 1980s and the late 1980s – that saw the ICTU’s influence on public policy transformed.  Each section begins with a discussion on the economy at that time and the impact that this had upon government thinking.  Thereafter, the section moves on to examine how economic circumstances impacted upon the relations and interactions between the government and the trade union movement.

THE TRANSFORMATION OF THE TRADE UNIONS’ ROLE IN SOCIETY (1950s – MID 1960s)

The trade union movement expanded with industrialisation in the 1930s.  However, with industrialisation came inter-union rivalry.  During the 1940s Seán Lemass, then Minister for Industry and Commerce, sought to encourage trade union rationalisation.  However, efforts to rationalise the unions created tensions that fissured the movement.  In April 1945, 15 Irish-based unions withdrew from the Irish Trades Union Congress (ITUC) and established the Congress of Irish Unions (CIU).  The existence of two rival congresses weakened the movement’s efforts, dissipated resources and rendered a common front against employers impossible.  However, in 1956, a Provisional United Trade Union Organisation was set up to co-ordinate the activities of both congresses, with a view to reunification.

The general election of 1957 resulted in a Fianna Fáil victory, and saw its 75-year-old leader, Éamon de Valera, form his final administration.  The year ‘1957 is conventionally thought of as the end of an era, marking the final exhaustion of the ideas of the first generation of political leaders’.  Two years later, de Valera was succeeded as Taoiseach by Seán Lemass.  Lemass, although almost 60, and a lifelong follower of De Valera, was nevertheless to stand for a clean break with the policies of the past and was to oversee the opening of the country’s economy.  The transformative impact of his innovative leadership, upon a then poor and insular Ireland, was to constitute the foundations upon which modern Ireland is built.

The Economic Stagnation of the 1950s

From the late 1940s onwards, the Irish economy stagnated.  Ó Gráda and O’Rourke argue that ‘in the 1950s, Ireland’s relative [economic] performance was disastrous, poorer than the European average’.  The benefits from protection had been reaped by the industrial expansion of the 1930s.  The post-war economic boom petered out at the end of the 1940s.  By the 1950s, Irish industry was supplying as much of the domestic market as it could.

OECD analysis showed agricultural production was abnormally low, while industrial output was faltering.  Per capita GNP grew at 2.4 per cent throughout the 1950s, but only because of ‘the exceptional demographic experience during this period when net migration averaged forty-one thousand persons a year’.  Yet, even this growth rate was among the lowest in the OECD.  Although employment in the economy was falling, the cost of living was still high.  The impact of these disastrous figures upon the populace at large cannot be underestimated.

In 1957, manufacturing output was no higher than in 1953, while building activity declined.  Between 1951 and 1958, GDP rose by less than one per cent per annum, employment declined by 12 per cent, unemployment rose and half a million people emigrated.  By the late 1950s, the outlook for the economy was depressing, while Europe was achieving strong and sustained growth.

The Government’s Response to the Economy

Upon his appointment as Minister for Industry and Commerce, in the new Fianna Fáil government of 1957, Lemass began implementing policies opening the state to foreign investment.  Despite fears over the competitiveness of protected Irish industry, the pressure for change increased.  By the end of the decade, both the government and opposition recognised the crisis facing the country.  During the Dáil debate on Lemass’s nomination as Taoiseach, Daniel Desmond of the Labour Party argued that it was time for the political establishment to realise that solving the problems with the economy superseded their own struggles for power.  On becoming Taoiseach in 1959, Lemass stated that the task was to consolidate the economic foundations of independence.  He brought to government vigorous entrepreneurial leadership.

The crisis in the economy prompted a fundamental reappraisal of the policies pursued up to that time.  Into this pessimistic environment came T.K. Whitaker’s report, Economic Development, in 1958.  Whitaker, then Secretary of the Department of Finance, was committed to export-led growth.  He advanced a strategy within the finance department of more planning, fewer tariff barriers and greater emphasis on productive investment: ‘It was in the atmosphere of a new government and a more active and interventionist Department of Finance, that Economic Development was born’.

This document was ‘a watershed in the modern economic history of the country’.  It proposed the gradual transition to free trade, stimulation of private investment, the reorientation of government investment towards more productive uses, the introduction of grants and tax concessions to encourage export orientated manufacturing and the inducement of FDI oriented manufacturers.  The document advocated abandoning the protectionism Fianna Fáil had pioneered since the 1930s.  These measures were incorporated into the First Programme for Economic Expansion in November 1958.  This White Paper, based on Whitaker’s document, ‘was drawn up by Charles Murray of the Department of Finance, supervised by a four-member Government subcommittee headed by Lemass’.  The fact that Lemass was involved in the White Paper ensured that the essence of Economic Development’s recommendations remained intact:

While there were some significant differences between Economic Development and the [First] Programme for Economic Expansion, which arose out of their different parentage, such differences were for the most part cosmetic as the main thrust of both documents was the same.

The ICTU Brought in from the Cold

The ITUC and CIU eventually reunited after 15 years apart.  The absence of ideological and organisational differences between the congresses made the process of reunification easier. …

Soon after Lemass became Taoiseach he sought a meeting with the ICTU to discuss the challenges facing the economy and how co-operation might be fostered between the various economic interests.  The number of meetings between the new Taoiseach and the unions increased thereafter, whereas there had been little interaction with de Valera.  These meetings covered a range of issues, from the economy to the prospects of Ireland joining the European Economic Community (EEC).  This development was in line with the calls for consultation between state, unions and employers contained in the First Programme for Economic Expansion.

The Fianna Fáil government’s 1958 and 1959 budgets reflected a change in fiscal policy.  Lemass’s speeches in 1959 often paralleled the positions adopted by the ICTU.  These included the need for state involvement in development and the expansion of the state sector.  The ICTU argued that the government should pump-prime the economy for growth and that capital investment should not be pursued to the detriment of social spending.  Within a year of Lemass becoming Taoiseach, budgets began expanding, with increased investment in areas identified by Congress.  By 1961, the reshaping of public capital expenditure, to give increased emphasis to directly productive investment, something the trade unions had argued for, stimulated economic growth.  A policy of grants and tax exemptions attracted foreign capital and the government also pursued an increasingly liberal trade policy.

The Unions and Their Role in Policy Development

Until the 1950s, the unions’ influence was largely indirect.  However, during the late 1950s, the government’s policies began to reflect those of the unions.  Lemass’s perspective on economic development was close to that of Congress.  In June 1959, Lemass remarked on the need for change in industrial development policy.  The government began to regard the trade union movement in general, and the united Congress in particular, as both an ally and supporter of its programme for national development.  The task of adjusting industries to competition led public policy into the realms of labour practices, industrial relations and pay bargaining.  In return, Lemass was prepared to offer the unions an integral part in the development of economic and social programmes:

He [Lemass] clearly understood that the government would have to play a more active, even hegemonic, role in the Irish economy, but he also realised that the success of government strategy assumed a new partnership with different interest groups, which would (in time) become players in the policy game.

In 1961, the ICTU and the Federated Union of Employers (FUE) reached agreement on the formation of the Employer-Labour Conference (ELC), which the government subsequently facilitated.  This body became central to corporatist control.  The unions’ increasing influence was visible in all areas of government policy.  For instance, the 1961 budget saw increases in social welfare payments at the behest of Congress.

Lemass argued that social progress would follow from economic development…  With the move towards the liberalisation of trade and economic planning, Lemass was instrumental in creating consultative bodies involving the unions and employers…

Union membership, declining throughout the 1950s, increased after 1959 and would go on rising for the next 21 years.  After 1959, the number of committees on which the ICTU was represented expanded.  The Irish National Productivity Committee (INPC) was a joint consultative body charged with improving productivity.  The Committee on Industrial Organisation (CIO) was set up in 1961 to examine the ability of Irish industry to compete within the EEC.  The National Industrial and Economic Council (NIEC) was established in 1963 as a consultative body in economic planning.  These bodies, paralleling ‘the state’s commitment to economic planning as contained in the first two programmes for economic expansion’, permitted the unions to co-operate with the state on a range of problems posed by economic expansion.  Thus, the period between 1959 and 1965 was to witness a new pattern of Congress participation in state institutions, such that ‘[t]he institutional setting soon became largely tripartite, with the representatives of business, of labour and of government discussing the issues of employment, output, prices and trade’.

THE MOVE TO CENTRALISED BARGAINING (MID 1960 – LATE 1970s)

In the 1960s, the economy performed well, real Gross Domestic Product  (GDP) increased by 4.4 per cent per annum, economic openness grew by 23 per cent, while unemployment averaged 5.05 per cent.  Economists attribute this success to export-led growth based upon trade liberalisation and FDI.

The Institutionalisation of the ICTU/Government Relationship

Congress’s attitude to EEC entry was initially cautious, but by 1962 it was willing to support Lemass’s plans.  Congress, recognising free trade as inevitable, decided to embrace it from a position of influence with the government through membership of the CIO and NIEC… the limitations of relying on a web of collaborative bodies to oversee economic adjustment, while collective bargaining remained unregulated, became clear.

The government’s attitude towards collective bargaining was influenced by its increasing economic significance.  As more workers became unionised, bargaining exerted a major influence on macroeconomic policies.  Industrial development’s pride of place in national policy influenced the government’s stance towards centralised collective bargaining.

Lemass had urged a corporatist strategy towards industrial relations following the Second World War.  Corporatism (or as it is sometimes called neo-corporatism) is an inclusive bargaining approach involving the unions, employers and government.  However, the employers’ and unions’ preference for the status quo – free collective bargaining – prevented corporatism’s introduction. …

The pay-rounds of the 1960s prompted attempts to again centralise collective bargaining.  Growing trade union power, rising industrial conflict and wage pressures impelled governments to adopt a more interventionist stance.  The dangers of economic crisis from industrial unrest and an unprecedented pay-round increase in 1969 were the catalysts for the move towards corporatism.  This resulted in the unions’ influence over public policy increasing substantially. Throughout the following decade, pay determination became increasingly politicised and public policy was directed towards minimising strikes and restraining pay.

Economic Stagnation at the Beginning of the 1970s

Economic expansion and decentralised collective bargaining were viewed as incompatible in the NIEC’s Report on Incomes and Prices Policy.  To compound matters, economic growth slowed.  Statistics for output, employment, imports and sales all indicated a stagnating economy.  Industrial production and construction activities were affected by strikes, while investment was depressed by a six-month bank strike.  Inflation was running at 8.5 per cent, its highest level since 1952.  The OECD argued that the high level of inflation was partly due to the labour disputes.  The Central Bank warned that the penalty for high and prolonged inflation would be declining sales, followed by a fall in production and employment.  The improvements in living standards in the 1960s were in danger of being lost to inflation.  At this time, economic openness declined, while the total number of days lost through economic disputes peaked at over one million.

The Government’s Deepening Relations with the Unions

‘The chief lesson emerging from the operation of collective bargaining in the 1960s was that decentralised wage rounds were by their nature unstable and prone to inflation’.  The government’s economic policy, traditionally geared to long-term growth and industrialisation targets, from 1969, became increasingly concerned with inflation.  Demand and output were depressed by the government’s anti-inflationary policy and the recession in the United Kingdom.  The combination of relatively slow growth, inflation and a large external deficit in 1970 presented a dilemma.  As prices became a primary concern, budgetary strategy was aimed at moderating government spending so as not to contribute to inflation.  In response, the government’s policies towards organised labour changed.

The NIEC viewed economic expansion and decentralised collective bargaining as incompatible.  The 1970 budget argued ‘the principle need at present is for a more orderly development of incomes if we are to bring the present inflationary situation under control’.  Another lesson from the 1960s was the need for a joint body to administer national pay agreements.  It was against this background of industrial strife and economic difficulties that the NIEC prepared its Report on Incomes and Prices Policy.  A consequence was the reconstitution of the ELC in May 1970 (which had become defunct during the early 1960s), a significant event in restructuring the adversarial approach to industrial relations.  The government became a participant in the ELC with the intention of influencing wages.  Then Minister for Finance, George Colley, stated that the economy could not afford wage increases unrelated to productivity increases.  Following the collapse of talks at the ELC in the autumn of 1970, the government threatened statutory controls on wages and salaries with a Prices and Incomes Bill.

… it should be noted that the ICTU refused to ratify the agreement until the government withdrew its Prices and Incomes Bill.  The 1970 agreement marked the beginning of a decade of engagement in centralised collective bargaining, a significant change in the politics of pay determination.  Between 1972 and 1978, six National Wage Agreements (NWA) were reached through bipartite negotiations between the ICTU and employers.  A further two agreements reached in 1979 and 1980, referred to as National Understandings (NU), were arrived at through tripartite negotiation with the involvement of the government.

By the mid-1970s, the new collective bargaining was marked by quid pro quo arrangements on taxation between the unions and the state and the integration of government budgetary policy into national pay determination.  The linkage between the national pay agreements and government budgetary policy was ‘the most profound change in the nature, functions and prerogatives of democratic government in the history of the state’.  With active state involvement in industrial relations came union involvement in policymaking.  The relationship between the ICTU, the FUE and the government had changed significantly.

Trade Union Representation and Government Policies

… following the 1970 agreement, the boundary between politics and industrial relations was dismantled by the state and unions.  ICTU representation on government committees, in the economic and social fields, expanded.  All centralised pay agreements were drafted and concluded by employer and trade union representatives in the reconstituted ELC and thereafter adopted as state policy. …

The 1970s saw union membership expand.  Throughout that decade the unions’ and employers’ federations became major actors in policy formulation. … there was a marked change in the level of ICTU policies incorporated into the government’s policies.  The Industrial Relations Act of 1971 largely followed the proposals of the ICTU, and the National Prices Commission was established by the then Minister for Industry and Commerce in line with Congress’s proposals. … By the end of the 1970s, formal tripartite agreements were concluded.  The government went from using budgetary policy to underwrite national pay deals, to placing a range of policy issues on the negotiation table.  The ICTU, through dialogue with the government, gained influence over the most important economic policy instruments in the state.

Industrial relations difficulties – attributed to the wage round system and free collective bargaining – along with inflation, the loss of competitiveness and industrial conflict, impelled the centralisation of collective bargaining.  With the conclusion of the NU in 1979, the government acknowledged a new role for pressure groups in an important sector of economic policy-making and incurred commitments to them; they, in turn, incurred reciprocal obligations involving the conduct of their members.  However, by 1978, the ICTU had grown strong due to the state’s willingness to grant it concessions.  This became clear in 1980…  This left the employers disgruntled and questioning their place in social partnership.

THE COLLAPSE OF CENTRALISED BARGAINING (EARLY 1980s)

By the close of the 1970s, centralised agreements had become policy agreements.  However, by the time the second NU expired in 1981, the unions and employers were disillusioned.  The sought after economic stability had not materialised. …

The Economy Crisis and Economic Policy

The centralised agreements, implemented as solutions to the economic and industrial relations problems of the 1960s, were increasingly relied upon to address the problems of the 1970s.  The late 1970s saw the economy recover from the downturn following the 1973 oil crisis.  Inflation and unemployment began to fall, while strong growth returned.  Real GDP increased by 5.3 per cent annually from 1976 to 1979.  However, the Fianna Fáil government of 1977 employed an expansionist fiscal policy when the economy was already growing unsustainably.  Strong pro-cyclical policies led to deterioration in fiscal balances, with the public sector borrowing requirement (PSBR) rising from 13 per cent of GNP in 1976 to 17 per cent by 1979.  The structural problems highlighted by the first oil crisis remained unresolved when the second crisis struck in 1979.

Adjustment to the European Monetary System (EMS), entered in 1979 after severing the link with Sterling to reduce inflation, proved problematic and inflation fell more slowly in Ireland than the UK.  The average rate of consumer price increase in 1980 was 18.25 per cent.  Although high levels of current expenditure produced a budgetary over-run in 1979, the government continued its expansionary policies due to the worsening international economic climate resulting from the second oil crisis, increasing unemployment and emigration.

Following rapid growth in the second half of the 1970s, demand fell in the early 1980s.‘The second oil shock, the protracted international recession and the failure to achieve the fiscal policy of retrenchment led to a worsening of [economic] imbalances’.  With a slowdown in growth, unemployment rose to historic levels.  The increase in fiscal deficit, intended to be temporary, became impossible to eliminate as the economy declined.  By 1981, the national debt reached £10.195bn.  The PSBR peaked at 20.1 per cent of GNP, while the current budget deficit stood at 7.3 per cent.  Government spending was so high that the total amount budgeted for 1981 had been used by June.

The Unions and the Ending of the National Agreements

Taoiseach Haughey, who came to power after winning a divisive party leadership contest within Fianna Fáil in December 1979, needed to prove his authority to a divided party with an election victory.  In this context, the government was reluctant to adopt measures that could prove unpopular.  In September 1980, as talks on a second NU entered their final stages, they collapsed, resulting in government intervention.  ‘The Taoiseach managed to press the FUE national executive into resuming negotiations by pledging guarantees on the content of the 1981 budget’.  The second NU was subsequently ratified, but the FUE resented the pressure brought upon it.

Centralised bargaining was not meeting the FUE’s objectives.  For employers,  particularly in indigenous companies in exposed sectors, the agreements imposing similar wage norms across the economy undermined competitiveness.  For the unions, the agreements were not transforming pay restraint into jobs at a sufficient level to meet the labour supply, nor were they reducing social inequality.  The state looked to the agreements to restrain pay increases, preserve competitiveness and deliver economic growth.  However, these objectives were compromised by extensive bargaining below national level.  The result was a second tier of pay determination developed in the 1970s.  Although the agreements had procedures for containing industrial conflict, this was historically high during the 1970s.

Irish governments have tended to appease interest groups through ad hoc policy concessions.  This worked against enduring agreements between the state and interest groups found in continental neo-corporatism.  Additionally, close ideological affinity between the unions and government, a feature of stable neo-corporatist arrangements, was absent in Ireland.  The social partners’ failure to share comparable views on the policies needed for tackling economic problems compounded difficulties.  Employers warned that spiralling wages fuelled inflation and contributed to rising unemployment.  The unions argued unemployment was a consequence of deficient demand.  Their solution was expansionary fiscal policy.  Employers resisted the demands for public sector job creation on grounds that it would have a crowding out effect. …

Political and Economic Instability

The general election of 1981 saw a minority Fine Gael and Labour coalition government come to power.  At a most inopportune time, Ireland was condemned to a period of unstable government.

Prior to the election, the Central Bank stated the ‘fundamental problem is that the community still does not realise that it must adjust its living standards and expectations downwards in the face of deteriorating terms of trade and the need to commit resources to servicing the increased external debt’.  The new coalition government was determined to bring order to the public finances.  According to the National Economic and Social Council (NESC), a spiralling current budget deficit, PSBR and national debt precipitated a new approach to economic management.  Regaining control of the public finances would entail constraining public service pay. …

Government ministers saw little merit in tripartite agreements.  When discussions on a new NU broke down, the government was unwilling to intervene to save the talks. … From late 1981 onwards, with worsening economic conditions, wage rounds became decentralised.  By 1982, all political parties were committed to curbing public spending, which was incompatible with the terms of the NUs.  Union influence on public policy was drastically reduced during the first half of the 1980s, as the ICTU was pushed out of the policy-making process.  The Fine Gael wing of the coalition decided social partners had no right to influence policy.

Political and economic instability peaked in 1981-1982.  With the national debt and budget deficit spiralling out of control, a coherent policy approach was essential.  However, the governments of 1981/1982 lasted such a short time that no clear policies emerged.  When the second Fine Gael-Labour coalition came to power in November 1982, the national debt was almost on par with GNP.  By then, all the parties agreed on the need to stabilise the debt/GNP ratio.

The state’s strategy for much of the 1980s was to exclude the unions from the policymaking process.  State policy changed from focusing on employment to balancing budgets, export growth and international competitiveness.  Persistent turbulence over public service pay, and government disinclination to return to tripartism, meant meetings between the government and the ICTU were formal, tense and unproductive.

The Changed Influence of the Unions

After expanding for two decades, union membership peaked at 545,200 in 1980 and then declined thereafter.  During the late 1970s, the unions’ polices had been finding their way into legislation.  However, by January 1982, the ICTU was at loggerheads with the Fine Gael-Labour coalition over their budget.  Determined to cut government expenditures, the subsequent Fianna Fáil government ignored ICTU proposals.  From mid-1982, in the face of an unsustainable national debt, all political parties committed themselves to curbing public expenditure as a precondition for economic recoveryThe Fine Gael-Labour coalition budget of February 1983 saw the tax burden on pay-as-you-earn (PAYE) workers increase and social welfare cut.  Thereafter, it was clear that on taxes, wages and welfare, the government and ICTU were in disagreement. …

The coalition government of November 1982 to February 1987 experienced considerable difficulties in righting the economy.  As McCarthy put it ‘an attempt to achieve fiscal correction and disinflation through increased taxation, rather than expenditure reduction, completed the economic picture’.  However, the stabilisation of the debt required sharp cuts in borrowing and, consequently, in current spending.  Control over current spending proved difficult to achieve with high unemployment and population growth.  Government spending on social services jumped from 28.9 per cent of GNP in 1980 to 35.6 per cent in 1985. … With investment and productivity capacity depressed by high taxes and interest rates, the economy entered a downward spiral.

THE REINSTITUTION OF CENTRALISED BARGAINING (LATE 1980s)

The 1980s saw a stagnating economy, deteriorating public finances and unprecedented unemployment.  By the mid-1980s, the level of unemployment was being offset by emigration.  Between 1981 and 1986, 75,000 people left the country, and, for the first time in a quarter of a century, 1986 saw the population decrease.  By 1987, the economy reached its lowest point ever.

The State of the Economy

By 1986, most economic indicators had reached historic lows, while national economic and political commentators, the media and domestic and international organisations, all regarded the economy as in crisis.  The policies introduced to shelter the economy from the oil shocks of the 1970s led to unsustainable macroeconomic imbalances.  Between 1982 and 1987, the national debt doubled to over 130 per cent of GNP.  The government borrowed to spend on welfare services that could be sustained only by more borrowing.  Economic commentators advocated debt repudiation.  Although inflation had fallen, the borrowing requirement stood at 13 per cent of GNP in 1986.  Unemployment reached 17.7 per cent in 1987, with 254,526 people out of work.  The numbers in work had fallen from 1,145,000 in 1979 to 1,095,100 by 1986, shrinking the tax base.

The Central Bank viewed the situation with pessimism, as it would not permit for improvements in welfare benefits to the needy.  The business community was extremely concerned and leading businessman and entrepreneur Tony O’Reilly warned of the dangers of International Monetary Fund (IMF) intervention in the economy.  If the IMF were to intervene in the operation of the Irish economy, it would signal to the international financial community the diminution of Irish economic sovereignty and be widely perceived as confirmation that the Irish government was incapable of righting the economy on its own.

The NESC Report: A Strategy for Development

In this context, the government became interested in building support among the economic and social interests for a national recovery strategy.  Through the involvement of the major economic interests, the NESC acted as a forum for discussing the crisis.  In the autumn of 1986, it produced a report A Strategy for Development, 1986-1990, in which it noted that ‘[t]he argument against a continuation of present policies is based on the consideration that discretion over economic and social policy would ultimately be removed from [Irish] control’.

The NESC report emphasised a plan, requiring an integrated medium term strategy that would command acceptance throughout society to tackle the crisis in public expenditure.  The report was conceived as a means of supporting the coalition government’s recovery plans.  While still in opposition, Fianna Fáil proposed building on the NESC’s report and its 1987 manifesto, The Programme for National Recovery, absorbed much of A Strategy for Development.

The 1987 General Election

By 1986, Fianna Fáil, in opposition, was aware that the unions were disillusioned with the government, especially the Labour Party.  In the absence of political links, the union movement faced the prospect of continued marginalisation from policy debates.  Spotting an opportunity, Fianna Fáil sought to woo the unions through its willingness to involve them in policy discussions if elected to government.  It did not regard the arms length dealings with the unions, employed by the coalition government, as ideal for imposing fiscal discipline upon the troubled economy.  Haughey also denounced the Thatcherite policies of the Fine Gael-Labour government, supporting the calls of union leaders for a return to social partnership.

Labour Party ministers struggled in cabinet to maintain social benefits, imposing considerable strains on the coalition.  Yet, the Labour ministers’ stance had not made their relationship with the unions easier.  The coalition government collapsed in 1987, when Labour resigned in disagreement over budget cuts.

The election of 1987 saw all party leaders proposing fiscal rectitude.  Haughey, leader of Fianna Fáil, stressed that the election was about economic recovery.  The Fine Gael election manifesto, Breaking out of the Vicious Circle, proposed reduced public spending and borrowing.  Fianna Fáil campaigned on a platform of opposition to cuts in social spending and advocated a return to centralised pay agreements.

The election saw a shift of urban working-class support towards Fianna Fáil, in protest at the harshness of the measures proposed by the coalition. The new Fianna Fáil minority administration was considered likely to want to avoid the risks of implementing severe spending cuts.  However, after Haughey visited the Department of Finance for a briefing on the national finances, Fianna Fáil recanted on its manifesto promises, making clear it proposed little modification to the outgoing government’s plans.  The budget introduced in March 1987 sought greater fiscal adjustment than was achieved in preceding years.  This was a marked shift in policy emphasis and a determination to reduce the deficit.  Expenditure was reduced by £250m, while tax revenue increased by £117m.

The Unions and the Programme for National Recovery

The new government’s actions appeared unpromising from the ICTU’s perspective.  However, Fianna Fáil wanted to avoid confrontation with the unions, especially in the public service.  Within a few months of assuming office the government promoted talks on a national pay agreement – The Programme for National Recovery (PNR) – in accordance with the principles in the NESC report.  The administration was interested in securing a three year tripartite agreement throughout the economy.  ‘The Taoiseach invited the unions, along with the other social partners, to take part in an effort to spur recovery by means of consensus’.  To facilitate agreement, the government was willing to modify its stance on public service pay and discuss tax concessions, job creation and welfare.

By supporting a centralised pay agreement for industrial peace and union commitment to spending cuts, Fianna Fáil revealed a preference for defusing, rather than inflaming, industrial conflict and for seeking union support, rather than excluding them from policy deliberations.  By 1987, the unions favoured a return to centralised pay determination.  The prospects of agreement on a moderate pay rise, combined with tight control over second-tier bargaining, also drew in the employers.

The union movement entered negotiations in a weaker position than in the 1970s.  Although the unions had not been consulted on policy by the coalition government, they still possessed leverage in the Dáil with the Labour Party and Fianna Fáil.  However, with Fine Gael now in opposition and operating under its Tallaght Strategy of not opposing the government’s measures to revive the economy, many of which had ironically been proposed by Fine Gael in the run up to the election, the unions had few options besides doing a deal.

Talks built on the NESC report.  The ICTU executive argued that the PNR would prevent Ireland going down the Thatcherite road, where the UK Trades Union Congress (TUC) had been utterly marginalised.  Thus, the PNR restored social partnership, as well as brining considerable benefits for capitalism.  The PNR resembled the NUs in scope, but not content.  The central issue was an agreement on wages in the public and private sectors for three years.  However, the PNR, and its successor agreements, also encompassed a wide range of economic/social policy commitments on job creation and welfare benefits.  Unlike the 1970s, these agreements were based on shared understanding of the problems facing the economy and the policies required to address them.

The Unions and Policy Developments

Following the recommendations of the NESC, the government’s objective was to reduce the debt/GNP ratio to a sustainable level.  The change in government economic policy, first encapsulated in its March 1987 budget, as a determination to reduce the deficit, was elaborated in the PNR.  In contrast with earlier attempts, the targets for 1987 were achieved.  Subsequent budgets were designed in harmony with the PNR and the agreements thereafter and they provided for implementation of policies over which the unions had direct input.

Three joint government-ICTU working parties on Employment and Development Measures, Taxation and Social Policy were established and chaired by the Secretary of the Department of the Taoiseach.  More committees were formed following subsequent national agreements.  A Ministerial-ICTU group also met monthly to review progress.  The unions had secured input into policy-making through their position as an essential constituency with rights of representation on state boards, committees and policy fora

From 1987 onwards, Congress policies on pay, tax and social welfare found their way into government policy.  Ireland had embarked on a tripartite approach to income policy, marking ‘a fundamental change in [the] approach to social partnership between that practised up to the early 1980s and that practiced from 1987 onwards’.  The agreements of the 1980s and 1990s were not confined to wages, but encompassed a range of socioeconomic policies.  The focus of these agreements was economic stability, greater equity in the tax system and enhanced social justice, with the result that, ‘in the decade after 1987, interest group activity in Ireland attained centre stage, with the tripartite agreements of the 1990s cementing social partnership’.  Ireland’s political economy shifted from a British, towards a European, mode of consensus between social partners. ‘These arrangements re-established a reciprocal relationship between Congress, the government, and employers on a much stronger institutional footing than heretofore’.

Social partnership arrangement continued to function up until the collapse of talks on a new national agreement in 2008, as a new economic crisis took hold.  It remains to be seen whether Ireland will witness a return to the decentralised collective bargaining of the early 1980s, or if the social partnership arrangements can be revived.  In this respect, the current situation in some ways mirrors conditions in 1981.  The decision on this issue will have huge implications for the role of trade unions in Irish society, and for the performance of the economy, over the coming decade.

CONCLUSION

This chapter examined the four periods in which the trade union movement’s influence over Irish public policy changed dramatically during the latter half of the 20th century.  In each of these cases, extant economic circumstances had a significant role to play.  Thus, the unions’ changing influence was examined in the context of the broader Irish political economy.

The 1950s was a depressing decade.  However, after Lemass came to power in 1959, the Fianna Fáil administration sought to open the economy to competition and FDI.  Lemass regarded trade union involvement as critical in this attempt to revive the economy.  As a result, ICTU access to the Taoiseach, representation on government committees, government economic policies and policies towards organised labour, changed in the unions’ favour.

Fear that industrial unrest might frighten off FDI led to centralised collective bargaining between the state, unions and employers throughout the 1970s.  The NWAs and later NUs, provided the ICTU with unprecedented access to government, its policies, and their formulation.  These centralised collective bargaining arrangements were linked to government budgets.  Thus, the state came to play a role in industrial relations, in return for which the unions gained influence over economic policy.  By the end of the 1970s, wage agreements were being concluded in a tripartite context.

The early 1980s were a time of economic turmoil and political instability.  The national agreements of the 1970s, a solution to the industrial relations problems of the late 1960s, were no longer addressing the needs of the economy.  The employers’ had become disillusioned with the agreements’ failure to control wage inflation, while the unions felt pay restraint was not resulting in job creation.  In 1981, the government abandoned centralised bargaining, as it sought to bring public spending under control.  As a consequence, the ICTU was excluded from directly influencing policy.

By 1987, with the country on the verge of bankruptcy and unemployment at almost 20 per cent, the political establishment recognised the need for a new consensual approach to the economy.  A new Fianna Fáil administration, building on an NESC report and determined to impose fiscal discipline, sought to involve the unions in policy consultation to avoid the dangers of open confrontation.  For the weakened ICTU, fearful of permanent marginalisation, the prospect of reinstituted centralised bargaining was a welcome lifeline.  The unions saw this as an opportunity to regain influence over taxation, unemployment and social welfare policy.  From 1987 onwards, a tripartite approach to managing the economy developed, wherein the social partnership agreements encompassed a range of economic and social issues.  The ICTU, through involvement on numerous committees and working parties, secured an input into state policies that endured up to 2008.

However, with the collapse of social partnership in 2008, a large question mark hangs over the whole process.  If the impact of current recession was sufficient to collapse the social partnership process, this raises questions as to the underlying strength of the agreements.  Did Irish social partnership hold together from 1987 onwards because of an underlying societal commitment to what the agreements represented?  Or, did partnership exist primarily due to a very favourable set of economic circumstance that, once ended, made it an unsustainable proposition?  The answer to these questions will determine the future of Irish social partnership, and that of the wider economy and society, over the next decade.