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.
The world economy is changing significantly. Low cost and highly competitive developing countries are having an increasing impact on all developed Western economies, not least of all here in Britain.
The UK conducts its internal and external trade through the European Union’s Customs Union/Single Market. That model, which was originally designed in the 1950s for economic and geopolitical conditions that were different from today’s, is emulated nowhere else in the developed world.
A belief in the importance of low taxes is axiomatic for those who put their faith in the power of markets, enterprise and personal responsibility as the foundation of a free society. Yet, today, much of the debate on tax starts by taking the current tax burden as a given. The question most often asked is whether or not the government of the day can afford to reduce taxes.
A feature of the London stock market since the Labour Government came into power in 1997 has been the poor performance of equity shares, both in actual terms and by comparison with the performance of stock market indices in other developed economies. This contrasts strangely with the growth of the economy over the same period. Why has this happened?
In this paper, John Littlewood examines how the stock market has performed badly under New Labour. In addition, he examines the consequence of their polices on tax and regulatory competitiveness.
In this paper, Ruth Lea examines Gordon Brown’s record as Chancellor, suggesting he has shifted from ‘prudent’ to ‘profligate’ in the post-1999 period.
In this report, Charlie Elphicke outlines a host of potential reforms to the state pension system in order to make it simpler, fairer and more transparent.
In this piece, Keith Marsden provides a statistical analysis of Gordon Brown’s time as Chancellor.
In this joint report, the authors examine the current state of the UK banking industry and review the findings of the recent Competition Commission report into the industry.
In this report, Stuart Lyons analyses how the DTI could be streamlined in order to focus on the needs of the business community and be more efficient in delivering its services.
In this paper, the authors argue that it is time to take millions out of paying income tax by raising the personal allowance to £10,000.
In this report, Theresa Villiers MEP highlights the concerted efforts at EU level for tax harmonisation across VAT, income taxes and corporate taxes.
In this paper, Keith Marsden explains why Gordon Brown’s economic performance as Chancellor is far less favourable than the headlines suggest.
In this paper, the authors explore the regulatory framework put forward by Labour for the financial services industry.
In these two pieces, Stuart Lyons explains how the Post Office could be privatised, while Lord Howe explores two key principles of a good long-term tax system.