Globalisation:Taxpayers' Alliance: Policy Exchange

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Policy Exchange is an independent, non-partisan educational charity who works with academics and policy makers from across the political spectrum. It is particularly interested in free market and localist solutions to public policy questions. Their research interests include using centre-right means to progressive ends, re-inventing Government and strengthening society with a central focus on the economy. Their work involves detailed ideas with practical impact: proposing policies that politicians can actually implement. It is highly commended by the Telegraph, George Osborne MP, Michael Gove MP and the Mayor of London, Boris Johnson. [1]

Policy Exchange has been reported as David Cameron’s favourite think tank and recently launched an article in the Guardian headed “The Spirit Level is not on the level” . This article highlighted a scathing report called ‘Beware False Prophets’ in critique of Professor Richard Wilkinson & Professor Kate Pickett’s book ‘The Spirit Level’, an analyses of income inequality and health and social problems claiming that it is seriously flawed in its analysis assumptions and conclusions. [2]This report was written by Peter Saunders, Professor Emeritus at University of Sussex, who works as an independent researcher and writer, focusing on welfare reform, social mobility, income inequality and poverty, and publishing with think-tanks including Policy Exchange. [3]

Responding to this report, Professor Richard Wilkinson & Professor Kate Pickett said that they welcomed open debate, but claimed that Peter Saunders analysis contained serious methodological errors. According to Professors Wilkinson and Pickett, Saunders misunderstands the evidence that shows that almost everyone does better in more equal societies and that “all analyses of income inequality and health and social problems in The Spirit Level have been either: (a) replicated by other researchers, in some cases hundreds of times, or (b) published in peer-reviewed academic journals This is fully referenced in The Spirit Level, but Peter Saunders is either unaware of this very large body of evidence or has chosen to ignore it” [4]

Richard Murphy director of Tax Research LLP has commented that ‘it is further example of the sheer nastiness of the Tory party – the left of the Tory party on this occasion. These people hate those not on above average income. It is clear they not only want them to suffer inequality and all that goes with it – but to increase that inequality – as the plan they put forward in the budget to create mass unemployment proves’. [5]


  1. Policy Exchange"[1]” Accessed 15 November 2010
  2. Richard Murphy “[2]” Accessed 15 November 2010
  3. Peter Saunders “[3]” Accessed 15 November 2010
  4. Richard Murphy “[4]” Accessed 15 November 2010
  5. Richard Murphy “[5]” Accessed 15 November 2010