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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225 - 237 of 237 Research articles

Whiter Monetarism

CPS - Economy

Financial markets, both in London and throughout the world are in the throes of fundamental and far-reaching changes. Barriers between previously separate markets are coming down. The old institutional distinctions no longer apply. The financial map is redrawn.

Put Pits into Profit

Keith Boyfield - Economy

Government policy towards the coal industry should have in sight the following targets.

Gentrification or Growth

Sir James Goldsmith - Economy

Traditionally there have been two main systems which can lead to prosperity and vigorous civilisation. One is based on imperial conquest. That is the Roman way and the way proposed by the Soviet Russia.

Value for Money Audits

John Redwood MP - Economy

In March 1978 the government White Paper on the nationalised industries outlined their significance to the economy in the following terms.

The Giant with Feet of Clay: The British Steel Industry 1945-1981

John Redwood MP - Economy

The history of the British steel industry over the last 35 years is a chronicle of industrial activity being hindered by government interference. The industry has been subject to two nationalisations with all their consequent upheaval.

The Economic Adviser’s Role: Scope and Limitations

Alan Walters - Economy

There is not much mystery to the job description for an economic adviser. He is expected to give advice on economic matters. But most job descriptions it conceals more than it reveals. Unlike the Emperor, the economist does have clothes of sorts – although views differ as to whether the garb is that of a dunce, a fool or an undertaker.

Land in a Free Society

Donald Denman - Economy

Land is one of the prime factors in economic production and a basic resource on which all economic activity depends. Policies primarily concerned with economic and social matters can, and invariably do, ultimately affect the ownership and use of land; conversely state policies to control the use and ownership of land cannot but affect the economy and the social ordering of society.

Measuring Money: The Inadequacy of the Present Tools

Robert Miller - Economy

The belief that the control of the money supply is a necessary if not sufficient condition for the control of inflation has become same thing of an orthodoxy. But a doctrine by itself is unsatisfactory if there is a lack of tools to apply it.

Second Thoughts on full employment policy

Samuel Brittan - Economy

One of the main reasons I took up the study of economic problems was indignation at the absurdity of unsatisfied wants side by side with idle hands willing to work which I believed existed before the Second World War.


Tim Congdon - Economy

The term “monetarism” has been much used in the last three or four years – sometimes as a clarion call for action to improve economic policy, but often an epithet of abuse.

Conditions for Fuller Employment

Rt Hon Sir Keith Joseph Bt MP - Economy

I seek common ground today in pursuit of a common objective: a substantial and lasting improvement in the bleak prospects for employment. Members of all parties demand an improvement. But rhetoric and sympathy will not help to create jobs or generate growth.

The Camel’s Back: An international Comparison of Tax Burdens

CPS - Economy

Britain is an overtaxed country – true or false? Published statistics give a conflicting message. In 1972 total UK taxation, including social security contributions as a proportion of gross national product, came in about halfway down a list of OECD countries. Yet, as Dr Bracewell-Milnes shows in this timely paper, even in that year the UK tax burden on high earners was high, and on savers intolerably high.

Monetarism is not Enough

Rt Hon Sir Keith Joseph Bt MP - Economy

It is now widely realised that many of our present economic ills stem from a cardinal error, the belief that inflation and unemployment presented a choice of evils. We have learned to our cost that inflationary measures designed in good faith to abate unemployment have eventually intensified it, leaving us with the worst of both worlds.

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225 - 237 of 237 Research articles