The fight against homelessness

This is the sixth in a series of blogs from the finalists of this year’s Policy Idol competition. These blogs were originally presented as policy pitches at the live final of the competition earlier this year. Policy Idol is an annual competition open to all staff and students at King’s.

By Oliver Marks, Katie-Louise Marvin, Paul Ng and Emma Shleifer

Homelessness is around us all the time yet we barely notice it. Many of us prefer to put the problem down as something out of our control. It is time we face the facts: homelessness is getting worse. Since 2010, it has increased by over 30 per cent nationwide. This is largely due to increased housing costs forcing more people to the streets, and the inefficient management of the issue. Continue reading

Revitalising democracy by engaging the youth

This is the fourth in a series of blogs from the finalists of this year’s Policy Idol competition. These blogs were originally presented as policy pitches at the live final of the competition earlier this year. Policy Idol is an annual competition open to all staff and students at King’s.

By Imran Hyder

Young people’s low civic knowledge and understanding, and their lack of engagement with public issues, are well-detailed problems that plague many Western democracies. Up until the turnaround at the Brexit referendum and the 2017 general election, youth turnout for elections in the UK had been in decline since 1992, from around 66 per cent in the general elections preceding that date, to only 43 per cent of 18–24-year-olds turning out to vote in the 2015 general election. Youth turnout for the preceding 2014 EU parliamentary elections was an appalling 28 per cent. Two years later, around 60 per cent of registered young voters in the UK went to the polls for the Brexit referendum, and a similar percentage of 64 per cent has voted in the 2017 general election. So what was behind the decline and the recent apparent reversal, and how do we move forward? Continue reading

Enhancing the working conditions of the ‘clasificadores’ in Uruguay by regulating the shadow trash market

This is the third in a series of blogs from the finalists of this year’s Policy Idol competition. These blogs were originally presented as policy pitches at the live final of the competition earlier this year. Policy Idol is an annual competition open to all staff and students at King’s.

By Luca Brockmann and Antonio Manzi Gari

Even though Uruguay was picked in 2013 as country of the year by The Economist, mainly due to its progressive social reforms, it still faces deeply entrenched social problems. Among these is the situation of the informal waste collectors, the ‘clasificadores’, whose main source of income is generated by searching for recyclable materials in landfills and residential waste containers which they can take to deposits or recycling plants to be sold. From the limited data available, we estimate that around 4,000 households in Uruguay depend on this ‘trash market’ as their main source of income, which translates to about 18,000 people. Moreover, more than 5,500 of them (28 per cent) are estimated to be children under the age of 14. Continue reading

Smartphone addiction: An emerging global digital epidemic

This is the second in a series of blogs from the finalists of this year’s Policy Idol competition. These blogs were originally presented as policy pitches at the live final of the competition earlier this year. Policy Idol is an annual competition open to all staff and students at King’s.

By Meena Nayar and Gemma Scott

Smartphone use has increased exponentially in the last decade, with more than 2.3 billion users worldwide in 2017. Smartphones have made staying in touch easier and given us constant access to the internet and social media, with many of us now seemingly unable to function without one. However, emerging scientific research suggests that many of us are becoming addicted to our smartphones, leading to a host of negative health and social consequences. Continue reading

The future of UK food production: reducing meat consumption and fostering innovation

This is the first in a series of blogs from the finalists of this year’s Policy Idol competition. These blogs were originally presented as policy pitches at the live final of the competition earlier this year. Policy Idol is an annual competition open to all staff and students at King’s.

By Louis Phelps

Meat consumption has reached unprecedented levels. Global production is now at 300 million tonnes each year and is predicted to increase 75 per cent by 2050. The industry currently generates around 15 per cent of global greenhouse gas emissions, more than the entire transport sector. Continue reading