Robert Colvile, CapX

Robert Colvile


United Kingdom

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  • CapX
  • The Telegraph

Past articles by Robert:

Michael Gove has picked the worst possible time to strong-arm the builders

Imagine you run a company. There you are, quite literally minding your own business. When suddenly, a man from the Government appears on your doorstep. Your industry is full of bad people, he says, who have done bad things. So pay up, right now. Or he’ll shut down your firm. That doesn’t really sound like […] → Read More

Does Theresa Villiers accept there is a housing shortage?

Last week, MPs debated the horrifying scale of Britain’s housing crisis. Just kidding! They actually held a debate on “brownfield development and the green belt”, in which various MPs, mostly Conservative, solemnly agreed with each other that they were very much in favour of the former and very much against the latter. This was of […] → Read More

Nimby campaigners added a zero to a key stat and nobody noticed (until now)

It really couldn’t have happened to a nicer lobby group. In their zeal to exaggerate the threat that housebuilding poses to our green and pleasant land, CRPE, the countryside charity, made a massive, avoidable and frankly hugely embarrassing error. In a Westminster Hall debate this week on brownfield and green belt, Margaret Greenwood MP cited […] → Read More

The morality of growth

This essay was originally published by the Centre for Policy Studies, CapX’s parent organisation. One of the most striking phrases to enter the political lexicon in recent years is ‘degrowth’. This is the idea that capitalism and its obsession with growth are a cancer on the planet. When you talk to environmental activists, they insist […] → Read More

Why the Tory housing rebels are wrong

Planning is back in the headlines. The row du jour is over the housing amendments put forward by Theresa Villiers, which as I warned in The Sunday Times – and others have highlighted here on CapX – would slash housebuilding by effectively making it voluntary for councils, rather than compulsory. In that Sunday Times piece, […] → Read More

Britain's housing crisis could be about to get a whole lot worse

There’s plenty in the Government’s inbox, but here’s yet another problem that ministers are going to have to urgently wrestle with – housing. Over the past year, the stock market has been dropping. Since January, the FTSE 100 is down 7%. Even more worryingly, the FTSE 250 – which may be a better metric of […] → Read More

Cutting stamp duty would be both popular and sensible – but there's one big caveat

Intriguing reports are circulating that the Government is going to cut stamp duty. The Centre for Policy Studies has long been arguing that this makes overwhelming sense – with one big proviso. Here’s why. First, stamp duty – as our report Stamping Down shows – is not just an unpopular tax but a very bad […] → Read More

Knee-jerk nationalisers have no idea how the water industry actually works

It’s a pattern as predictable as the water cycle itself. Britain has a drought. The newspapers discover that billions of gallons are being wasted through leaks. There is unanimous agreement that the water companies must be punished. The Guardian calls once more for nationalisation. It’s not just the left that get agitated. In the last […] → Read More

The case against corporation tax

The opening stages of the Conservative leadership election have been dominated by talk of tax cuts – and business tax cuts in particular. Quite a lot of coverage has presented this as a weird Tory fixation, utterly divorced from the real-world concerns of the British people. In fact, it’s essential to our country’s future. Now, […] → Read More

Simon Jenkins plumbs new depths of housing nonsense

I had plenty to be getting on with today, but Simon Jenkins’ latest Guardian column is so utterly, nonsensically wrong on housing and planning that I couldn’t resist fisking it. Housing is such an important area of policy and it’s crucial we base our arguments on facts, rather than spurious assertions. In the first two […] → Read More

Is there any money left? The UK economy after Covid

With Covid restrictions finally lifted, the country’s attention is turning from public health back to the economy. Cost of living pressures, the balance between tax, spending and debt, and the pressing need to raise Britain’s mediocre long-term growth rates are once more at the forefront of the policy debate – and rightly so. Britain faces […] → Read More

The CapX Podcast: Niall Ferguson on the Politics of Catastrophe

From the eruption of Vesuvius to the Chernobyl meltdown, human history has always been punctuated by catastrophes – some natural, others very much man-made. . . Get more from CapX Follow us on Twitter Join us on Facebook Sign up to our email bulletins Subscribe to Free Exchange, the CapX podcast In his new […] → Read More

Government must get back to (data) basics

Database management, like productivity, is one of those topics that automatically hits the mental snooze button. It may be hugely important, but it’s also almost guaranteed to make the eyes glaze over. Which is why I want to get your attention by saying something provocative: the central lesson of the pandemic is that database management … → Read More

No, long-term fixed-rate mortgages are not a recipe for a British subprime crisis

Well, that escalated quickly. On Friday, I was the proud publisher of a policy – long-term, fixed-rate, low-deposit mortgages – that Boris Johnson had decided to put at the heart of his attempts to help “Generation Buy”. By Saturday, the same policy was being condemned in some quarters as putting Britain on a path to … → Read More

Going for growth is the only way out of the Covid trap

A decade ago, Rupert Murdoch gave the first Margaret Thatcher Lecture for the Centre for Policy Studies. In his speech – delivered as Britain was struggling to cope with the aftermath of recession – he outlined how tempting it can be in tough times to retreat under the state’s security blanket: “In an anxious time, people … → Read More

The climate strikers' hard-Left agenda would only make things worse

“Hey hey! → Read More

Does an ageing population really mean tax hikes are inevitable?

Making social care more productive would be the equivalent of putting billions more into the system → Read More

This has been the worst decade for house-building since World War Two, and it's all our fault

Why hasn’t Britain built enough houses? → Read More

Giving councils carte blanche will not fix the housing crisis

Compulsory Purchase Orders were meant for critical infrastructure - not housing → Read More

The case for renationalising the water industry is full of leaks

Britain's water industry is far from perfect. But renationalisation would only make things worse → Read More