Tax and cost of living

The Centre for Policy Studies wants Britain to have a tax system that is simple, fair, and pro-growth. And although there have been some encouraging moves on tax policy in recent years – the corporation tax rate has gone down, the personal allowance has gone up, and savers have benefited from more generous ISAs – there is still a lot of work to be done.

We have an income tax system that is riddled with punitive marginal rates and perverse incentives that discourage work and enterprise. We have heavy property taxes that distort markets and contribute to a growing housing crisis. And we tax businesses in a way that does little to promote long-term investment. Above all, we have a tax burden that stands at its highest level in decades, and a tax code that is – at least by some measures – the longest in the world.

If we’re going to rise to the economic challenges of the 21st Century, this has to change. We need tax reform that puts more money in people’s pockets, and promotes robust, sustainable growth. At the Centre for Policy Studies, our aim is to design tax policies that meet these objectives in a practical, popular way – and which are rooted in our core principles of enterprise, opportunity, and ownership.

Our economic agenda is not confined to tax reform, however. Alongside projects looking at housing, welfare, and business policy, the Centre for Policy Studies is working on ideas to lower the cost of living – not through heavy-handed state intervention, but with reforms that make markets more competitive and ensure that consumer interests always come first.

The salience of this issue should not be underestimated. Our “New Generation” polling asked people what government could do to make their own lives better, and across the age spectrum, “do more to keep down the cost of living” was a clear winner. Those aged 18–24 ranked it just behind “more affordable housing”, and those over 65 put it second behind “better health service provision”. But every other age group made lower living costs their number one priority.

Finding realistic ways to make British life more affordable is therefore a central focus of the Centre for Policy Studies’ work.

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1 - 16 of 246 Research articles

Why Choose Britain?

Robert Colvile - Economy

Britain’s prosperity has long depended on being open to talent and investment. Following Brexit and the pandemic, and amid the worst cost of living crisis in a generation, that openness is more important than ever. It is crucial to boosting economic growth and raising living standards, and will be absolutely necessary in delivering the Government’s… View Article

Cutting the cost of living

Karl Williams - Economy

British households continue to face the dire realities of a worsening cost of living crisis, which the Government has rightly made its number one priority. A new Centre for Policy Studies briefing paper today outlines a host of measures that the Government could implement immediately to help address the short term challenges of the cost of living… View Article

Economic Bulletin: Back to the 1970s?

Karl Williams - Economy

The Cost of Living Crisis The cost of living squeeze is already hurting British households, and it’s only going to get worse. Inflation – which reached 5.5% in January – is outpacing wage growth, leading to a decline in real incomes. Interest rates are going up. At least two thirds of adults are reporting cost… View Article

National Insurance: A Plan to Blunt the Pain

Robert Colvile - Economy

With every week that goes by, the depth of the cost of living crisis becomes clearer – and the impact on households worsens. So the Government’s planned 1.25% rise in National Insurance Contributions, set to come into force in just two weeks, could not come at a worse time. The Centre for Policy Studies has… View Article

Trading Up

Nick King - Economy

SMEs make up 99.9% of UK businesses, employing 16.3 million people. They are at the heart of the UK economy. Yet historically, they have been far more reluctant to export than their international rivals. Only one in 10 British businesses export; far fewer than many of our European counterparts. In a major new paper, CPS… View Article

Economic Bulletin: Is there any money left?

Karl Williams - Economy

With Covid restrictions finally lifted, the country’s attention is turning from public health back to the economy. Cost of living pressures, the balance between tax, spending and debt, and the pressing need to raise Britain’s mediocre long-term growth rates are once more at the forefront of the policy debate – and rightly so. Britain faces… View Article

Clearer, Fairer, Better: The case for UK subsidy transparency

Anna Powell-Smith - Economy

A joint paper by the Centre for Policy Studies and Centre for Public Data, backed by the Government’s Anti-Corruption Champion, John Penrose MP, argues that the Government should slash the new threshold for declaring subsidies from £500,000 to £500

Looking East: The Case for UK Membership of CPTPP

Elizabeth Dunkley - Economy

In a new report for the Centre for Policy Studies, Anthony Mangnall MP makes a robust case for British membership of the CPTPP trading area

Levelling Up and Zeroing In

James Heywood - Economy

A new report by the Centre for Policy Studies says the Government can level up and decarbonise the economy simultaneously by introducing a carbon border tax, alongside a selection of other policies

Budget Briefing: The Age of the Trillion-Pound State

CPS - Economy

In a comprehensive briefing note, the Centre for Policy Studies’ research team set out the most important takeaways from the Budget – including the fact that Boris Johnson is set, by 2025-6, to usher in the age of the trillion-pound British state.

The UK’s International Tax Competitiveness

Tom Clougherty - Tax

In an interview ahead of this week’s Global Investment Summit, Boris Johnson claimed that the UK is ‘a colossally attractive place for people to come and invest‘, and promised that it ‘will be even more attractive as a place to invest and do business‘ in future. But new analysis from the Centre for Policy Studies and the US-based… View Article

Getting Results

Julie Marson MP - Public Services

In the aftermath of Covid, the government must control public spending and draw on private sector investment and innovation A new report by Julie Marson MP shows how Social Impact Bonds, and other outcomes-based approaches, could deliver better services for less money Social Impact Bonds were invented in the UK but have struggled to take off in… View Article

The Case for Freezing Excise Duties

Tom Clougherty - Tax

New CPS briefing note urges the Chancellor to avoid raising fuel and alcohol duties or risk aggravating the cost of living crisis Raising excise duties in line with RPI would add 2.4% to the typical price of a tank of petrol, 2.2% to a bottle of wine, 3% to a case of beer, 3.1% to a bottle… View Article

Budget 2021: A Recipe for Recovery?

Tom Clougherty - Economy

CPS urges Chancellor to help private sector drive recovery

History Repeating? The lessons of the postwar recovery

Jethro Elsden - Economy

History Repeating? The lessons of the postwar recovery

Public Sector Pay: The Case for Restraint

Robert Colvile - Economy

Public sector pay freeze could save up to £23 billion by 2023

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1 - 16 of 246 Research articles