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.
What to do? The War of Independence: a Declaration proposed by a radical reform of the tax and benefit system. The plan was to raise the income threshold, below which people do not pay tax, from its present level of £4,300 to £15,000.
Lord Maurice Saatchi and Peter Warburton look at Britain’s system of tax and spending and propose ways in which to modernise it for the 21st Century in The War of Independence.
The Deputy Head of the Policy Institute of Directors, Richard Baron looks at the impact of withholding tax on the City of London in the report, ‘Serious Damage.’
New Labour was elected on a promise to combine ‘fairness’ and ‘flexibility’ in its labour market policies. In the section on business in its 1997 manifesto, New Labour promised to ‘introduce minimum standards for the individual at work’.
Does anyone today doubt that the privatised industries are now more ‘efficient’ than they were when they were in state hands?
In the accompanying report, National Economic Research Associates (NERA) has presented the findings of the first independent analysis of the effect of privatisation on the exchequer. The performance of 33 companies has been analysed.
In its analysis of employee safety, NERA concludes that the post-privatisation record has been impressive.
Public spending must be reduced if the economy is to prosper; and the economy must prosper greatly so that taxes can also be cut.
Britain’s invisible earnings are so condemned to obscurity by the very name they go by. Yet they are the hidden crown jewels of the economy.
Twenty years have passed since Britain committed itself to the Treaty of Rome and thereby became a member of what at the time was still formally designated the European Economic Community and known more familiarly as the Common Market.
The worldwide collapse of state socialism has focused new attention on the workings of a free economy. Interest centres above all on how the huge range of industries presently languishing in state control around the globe can be successfully transferred to private ownership.
Recent discussion about the implications of the Maastricht Treaty on European Union has been far ranging and sometimes intense, but little attention has been paid to the nature and extent of the legal obligations assumed by the United Kingdom under the Treaty in relation to monetary union.
In the political world the general view of capital gains tax is one of indifference; it is a subject little discussed.
The Renewed interest in monetary union can be explained largely in terms of the politics of the Franco-German alliance.
The annual turnover of the charitable sector has been estimated at some £13billion. Charities are being registered by the Charity Commission at the rate of one every 30 minutes for the working day.