The UK economy emerged from the 2008–09 recession with elevated public and private debt and high unemployment. Strong growth and macroeconomic stability in the run–up to the crisis had hidden a build–up of significant imbalances, influenced by overreliance on debt–finance and the financial sector, and booming asset prices. These imbalances need to be addressed to ensure a sustainable and balanced recovery. The government is pursuing a necessary and wide ranging programme of fiscal consolidation and structural reforms aimed at achieving stronger growth and a rebalancing of the economy over time.
Further reforms are needed to improve education outcomes in England, especially among disadvantaged groups. Despite significantly increased resources, education performance in England measured by PISA scores remains static and uneven, and could be improved by focusing resources more on disadvantaged children. The new pupil premium is a step in the right direction, but funding should be even more transparent. Higher and more equal autonomy across school types, in terms of hiring and pay, would support efficient deployment of resources. The quality of vocational training should be increased. Legislated tuition fee reforms could be taken further to lower fiscal costs and expand tertiary education.