Sugary solution?

by Kate Smith

Since 6 April, the UK’s sugar tax has seen shoppers asked to pay 18p or 24p more per litre of soft drink bought, depending on how much sugar the drink contains. In Scotland, from May, alcohol is now not allowed to be sold for less than 50p per unit, with Wales also looking at similar measures.

The rationale for these price policies is that sugar and alcohol are associated with problems that impose a substantial cost on society. For example, problem drinking can lead to anti-social behaviour, crime, pressure on A&Es and increased liver disease. Excessive sugar consumption is linked to rising obesity rates, diabetes and heart disease. Continue reading

Power over social media platforms

by Martin Moore

We are at a peculiar moment when governments – democratic and authoritarian alike –  are itching to regulate and legislate the major tech platforms. In the UK in April, Jeremy Hunt gave an ultimatum to social media to better protect children or face new laws.

His threat followed similar ones by Matt Hancock, Theresa May, and before her  David Cameron. And, in the same month as Hunt’s ultimatum, Facebook’s Mark Zuckerberg was hauled in front of Congress for two days of questioning. “Congress is good at two things” Republican Senator Billy Long said then, “doing nothing, and overreacting. So far, we’ve done nothing on Facebook… [now] We’re getting ready to overreact.” Continue reading

The place of prosperity in protracted refugee crises

by Annelise Andersen

Mass displacement today

Today one in every 122 people on the planet is now either a refugee, internally displaced or seeking asylum. Movement, it seems, is the new normal.

Global human mobility has always been a part of human life. But in the past to be a refugee was a short-term consequence of conflict. Interventions aimed at ensuring a right to life for refugees in the short term too.

The extreme numbers of people on the move now present us with new challenges. One of these is how to respond to the rise of  ‘protracted refugee situations’ – refugees that are in a long-lasting and intractable state of limbo for five years or more.

The effects of protracted refugee situations are dramatic. They can contribute to ongoing crises, disrupt strategies that aim to make them more stable and hinder sustainable development in host countries and those of refugee origin. Continue reading

EU citizens after Brexit: understanding the risks

by Madeleine Sumption

Despite major disagreements about how Brexit should be done, politicians across political parties and across the ‘Leave-Remain divide’ agree on one thing: EU citizens already living in the UK will keep their rights to do so after Brexit.

But just because there is some level of political consensus about the issue, it doesn’t mean it will be easy in practice. Continue reading