Options for Britain II

7 July 2008 - 8 July 2008


Deadline for Registration: 25 June 2008 

Programme and Registration
Please see the link at the right hand side of the page for the provisional programme.  The event is free to attend but places must be booked.  Please contact Michelle Maciejewska to register.

Convenor:  Adam Coutts (University of Oxford)

How has Britain done in the last decade? How well has the Government performed? And what are the big choices that face us for the next decade? 

Options for Britain II is funded by the Economic and Social Research Council, The Gatsby Charitable Foundation, Nuffield College and the University of Oxford’s Department of Politics and International Relations. The project brings together the best existing academic and independent research to identify the principle policy options facing the UK in the decade to come.  In this sense, it follows a similar approach to that of the first Options for Britain project which was published in early 1996. Like then, the government has been in power for many years, and it is an appropriate time to assess its record and the choices ahead. As in 1996, there is also a real appetite across the political parties for rigorous evidenced-based policy research that can be borrowed for upcoming manifestos and this appetite is only sharpened by the prospect of political change in the coming election.

Options for Britain II was successfully inaugurated with a conference at Nuffield College, Oxford University on February 27th-29th 2008. Participants included senior policy-makers such as Stephen Aldridge (Head of Prime Minister’s Strategy Unit), politicians such as David Willetts (Shadow Cabinet), senior academics such as Professor Stephen Nickell (Former Member of the Monetary Policy Committee and current Warden of Nuffield College, Oxford) and thoughtful journalists such as David Goodhart (Prospect Magazine).

During the conference on 7-8 July each conference session will be used to examine a particular policy area like climate change or Britain’s role in the world and in each session three questions will be asked: how has this policy area changed over the last 10 years, what are the most salient current challenges in this policy area and what are the realistic and deliverable policy options that an incoming government might have to address them. Like the first conference those attending will be senior academics, politicians, civil servants and thoughtful journalists.

More information can be seen at the main Options for Britain II website.




Options for Britain II

Provisional Programme

Location : CRASSH Date : 7-8 July 2008

Monday 7 July



Registration and lunch



David Halpern (Acting Director, Institute for Government)


Energy, Climate Change and the Environment

Chair: Andrew Woods (Professor, Director of the BP Institute, Cambridge University)
Presenter: Chris Hope (Reader in Policy Modelling, Judge Business School, Cambridge University)
Respondent: Jonathan Brearley (Head of the Office Climate Change) and Bryony Worthington (Head of Government Relations, Scottish and Southern Energy)




Global Poverty and Inequality

Chair: Simon Caney (Professor, Department of Politics and International Relations, Oxford University)
Presenter: Michael Woolcock (Research director, Brooks World Poverty Institute, Manchester University)
Respondent: Shailaja Fennell (Lecturer in Development Studies and Fellow of Jesus College, Cambridge University)


Conference dinner: St Catharine's College, Senior Common Room

Pre-dinner drinks 6pm, dinner 7.30-10.00pm

Tuesday 8 July



Coffee at CRASSH 


Transport and Infrastructure

Chair: David Newbery (Professor of Economics
and Fellow of Churchill College, Cambridge University)
Presenter: Richard Wellings (Deputy Editorial Director, Institute of Economic Affairs)
Respondent: Christopher Nash (Professor, Institute for Transport Studies, Leeds University)




Business, Innovation and Entrepreneurship

Chair: David Good (University Lecturer, Social & Political Sciences, and Fellow, Kings College, Cambridge University)
Presenter: Alan Hughes (Professor and Director, Centre for Business Research, Cambridge University)
Respondent: Mike Kitson (Director of the National Competitiveness Network at the Cambridge Massachusetts Institute and Centre for Business Research)




Britain’s Role in World

Chair: Paul Ingram (Executive Director, British American Security Information Council)
Presenter: Malcolm Chalmers (Professorial Fellow, Royal United Services Institute)
Respondent: Nadim Shehadi (Associate Fellow, Middle  East Programme, Chatham House)


Tea and Coffee


Social Justice and Inequality in the UK

Chair: Ron Martin (Professor of Geography, University of Cambridge)
Presenter: Peter Kenway (Director, New Policy Institute)
Respondent: Pat Thane (Professor, Institute for Historical Research, History and Policy)





Summing Up:

(Reader in History and Public Policy,  St Johns College, Cambridge University and Editor of History and Policy)

Concluding Remarks

David Halpern (Acting Director  Institute for Government)