On Monday 8th December 2014, year 12 and year 13 economic students had the opportunity to attend an A-level economics conference, ‘The UK Economy – Recovering from Crisis?’ at the City Temple in Central London. At the conference there were many important and influential speakers including a Shadow Secretary of State and new UKIP MP.
Once we arrived at CIt0079 Temple and were sat in our uncomfortable seats, one of the main speakers welcomed us all and gave a brief synopsis of what this day was going to contain. He then swiftly introduced Chukka Umunna MP, the Shadow Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills, who talked about his party; Labour. He explained what Labour hopes to do if they gain power in the next election; their policies, strategies and views on the present economy. After every speaker there was a brief time allocated to question and answers; although there was a slight problem with the microphones the questions asked were interesting and insightful.
Next we had a speaker from the BBC, Tim Harford, who spoke about Big Data; a concept which was about extremely large data sets that may be analysed computationally to reveal patterns, trends, and associations, especially relating to human behaviour and interactions. Afterwards Larry Elliot, from the Guardian, talked about full employment, and how he believed that the government should’ve focused on economic growth before the balance of payments and George Buckley, from Deutsche Bank, spoke about the EU and the upcoming referendum, which would affect many audience members next year so was good to listen to and get a further insight into the pros and cons of choosing yes or no, issues with membership, why we need the EU and why the EU needs us.
As we entered the afternoon session of the conference we heard from Hugh Pym, the former Chief Economics Correspondent for the BBC, and Douglas Carswell, the first UKIP MP. Hugh Pym discussed the banks, including Northern Rock, and the crisis we faced a few years ago and Douglas Carswell spoke about UKIP’s economic policies. Although Carswell’s speech was interesting there were many controversial questions from the audience about immigration, which had good replies from both speakers; although the debate around this subject made one feel uncomfortable.
To finish off the day the last three speakers were Jack Meaning, Carl Emerson and Dr. Charles Smith who spoke about key indicators of the economy and current statistics of the UK, public spending and economics in the real world respectively. The whole day was very informative however if I was to give any criticism it would be that some of the speakers were very mono toned which made it hard to keep your attention up and the venue was not suitable as we had to sit on wooden pews 5 hours; but nevertheless everything they spoke about was useful to both years regarding their A-level course. I hope the next Year 12 & 13 classes get the same opportunity as we did.
Charlotte Ritchie and James Vassor in Year 12.