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The Expert Factor

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The Expert Factor

The EXPERT FACTOR is the podcast for people who haven’t had enough of experts. Each week the directors of three leading and respected think tanks – Paul Johnson of the Institute for Fiscal Studies, Hannah White of the Institute for Government, and Anand Menon of UK in a Changing Europe – get together to discuss, debate and explain the big questions and themes that will shape the upcoming General Election, and the political landscape for years to come.

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Recent Episodes of The Expert Factor


Can the next government fix the housing crisis?

Can the next government fix the housing crisis?

Whoever wins the general election – and right now it looks set to be Labour – is going to inherit a particularly stacked and complicated in-tray. And most complicated of all might just be housing.

It’s a problem that so many people are facing – and it’s a problem that successive governments have completely failed to solve. There aren’t enough houses. There aren’t enough houses being built. Houses are too expensive to buy. In some places they are too expensive to rent. 

So what is the solution? Hannah and Paul are joined by special guest Toby Lloyd...

Episode 38 8 July 2024 44m and 2s


Do Sunak or Starmer really have a plan for economic growth?

Do Sunak or Starmer really have a plan for economic growth?

It’s the Holy Grail. The answer to all our problems. The key to, well pretty much anything the next government wants to – and can – achieve. Rishi Sunak made it one of his five pledges. Keir Starmer placed it front and centre of Labour’s manifesto. But does anyone really know how to deliver economic growth?

With Paul on his holidays, The Expert Factor is joined by IfG chief economist Gemma Tetlow for a closer look at the questions that could define the next government – and the future of our public services. What levers can governments pull to make gr...

Episode 37 18 June 2024 39m and 39s


What will happen to taxes after the 2024 general election?

What will happen to taxes after the 2024 general election?

Promises not to raise tax are a feature of every general election campaign, and this year is no different. But what are Rishi Sunak and Keir Starmer really saying about tax – and what does it mean for what the government can spend on struggling public services?

Which taxes could still rise? What taxes need reform – and how can government go about it? And what does the public really think about tax? Anand, Paul and Hannah crunch the numbers  and tell you what the tax rows are all about.

Plus: Rise of the Right... what just happene...

Episode 36 11 June 2024 37m and 58s


Are we selecting the best MPs?

Are we selecting the best MPs?

How do parties decide who gets to stand to be an MP? And are they doing it right? So far this general election has been whirlwind of surprises and unexpected recrimination. Keir Starmer has been accused of purging the Labour Left to install friendly faces in plum seats. And the Conservatives had to search frantically for new candidates to replace record numbers of their MPs who’ve decided to stand down.

What does it take to get on the ballot paper? And how do the parties’ choices shape their future in power (or opposition)? Special guest Isabel Hard...

Episode 35 6 June 2024 48m and 34s


Election 2024: What's behind the Starmer-Sunak Stand-off?

Election 2024: What's behind the Starmer-Sunak Stand-off?

It is a week since a rain-soaked Rishi Sunak called a general election. So what on earth is going on? Does Rishi Sunak’s surprise decision make any more sense? Is the idea of national service going to win back the younger voters? Do the claims and counter-claims about tax add up? And will anyone talk about Brexit over the next six weeks? For impartial, insightful and, yes, expert analysis and insight, there is no better podcast to turn to than the Expert Factor.

From now until the July 4th polling day, Hannah, Paul and Anand are go...

Episode 34 30 May 2024 39m and 35s


How can public inquiries make a difference?

How can public inquiries make a difference?

Hillsborough. Bloody Sunday. Grenfell. Scott. Leveson. Chilcott.

And just this week, infected blood, the Post Office and Covid.

Public inquiries can make headlines. They can alter the course of political careers. They can bring closure. They can shape all our lives.

So in the week that the contaminated blood inquiry’s final report was published, Emma Norris, the IfG’s deputy director and resident public inquiries expert, joins Anand and Paul

to examine what makes a successful public inquiry - and what makes an unsuccessful one. Should politicians resist them or welcome...

Episode 33 24 May 2024 33m and 42s


What’s going wrong with Britain’s universities?

What’s going wrong with Britain’s universities?

UK universities are widely regarded as some of the best in the world. Boasting six of Europe’s top ten universities, it’s easy to see why so many students choose to study in Britain.

Yet despite this, Britain faces a major skills shortage. Outcomes vary greatly across students from different backgrounds. And prospective students are increasingly sceptical about whether a degree is worth the money.

With the election fast approaching, all parties are laying out their vision for the future of Britain’s universities. So why does it matter? Are UK universities really world leading...

Episode 32 17 May 2024 33m and 15s


What do the 2024 local elections really tell us about UK politics?

What do the 2024 local elections really tell us about UK politics?

The dust has settled, we've caught up on our sleep, and the Expert Factor team have assembled in the studio to make sense of a big set of local elections. Local Government Chronicle editor Sarah Calkin is this week’s special guest, joining Anand and Paul to explain what these votes were all about and why they matter. 

So what do these elections mean for Rishi Sunak and Keir Starmer? Will the results have any impact on campaign strategies for the general election? Could they even force Sunak to call an early election - or perhaps a very...

Episode 31 10 May 2024 29m and 29s


Why should voters care about the government’s industrial strategy?

Why should voters care about the government’s industrial strategy?

The general election campaign will probably be all about immigration, the economy, jobs and the NHS, but an industrial strategy – or not, if there isn’t one – could be critical to the future of this country.

But what exactly is an industrial strategy? And why should voters pay attention to whether the government has one – and what Labour might do differently?

Hannah and Paul are joined on this week’s Expert Factor by Giles Wilkes, who has worked on industrial strategy at the heart of government, to explore what an industrial strategy actually means for anyone vot...

Episode 30 3 May 2024 36m and 46s


Is there a better way to pay for the NHS?

Is there a better way to pay for the NHS?

The NHS is front and centre of a general election campaign. Rishi Sunak has placed the NHS at the heart of the five pledges he wants to voters to judge him on, while Keir Starmer has made NHS reform one of the five missions which he says would drive a Labour government.

But money is tight, and performance levels are poor. That familiar subject of how to reform the NHS is surfacing again – along with the tricky question of how to pay for our health service.

So how is the NHS funded? How much do we...

Episode 29 26 April 2024 32m and 11s

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