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The beauty of choice

Julian Le Grand effectively squashed David Lipsey's arguments against the introduction of choice to public services. But he failed to explain why it is that choice works

By Eamonn Butler   February 2006

Fascinating to see those giants David Lipsey and Julian Le Grand arguing in Prospect on the issue of choice in public services. Lipsey gave us the theoretical case against choice: users lack information, choice requires extra capacity, it produces inequality, most people don’t actually want choice, and it is not really choice for most of us, once the best schools and hospitals are full.

Le Grand squashes the first three of these arguments on the basis of real evidence gleaned from his Downing Street years. First, the existence of private health and education shows that some people can and…

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