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Listing the Coalition's (and the CPS') succeses in 2011

    We hope you are enjoying our holiday series ‘UK Policy Resolutions for 2012’. So far, five of our best authors have set out their own personal visions for the country in the coming year:

    • Lord Flight on staying ahead of the curve on deficit reduction
    • Tim Morgan on managing a longer period of austerity and increasing the personal tax allowance
    • Dominic Raab MP on Employment Law reform
    • Ryan Bourne on steps towards sustainable spending
    • Charlie Elphicke MP on a new focus on SMEs

    There is a lot more to come including David Martin and Nigel Knight up next with pieces on tax on Boxing Day, Andrea Leadsom MP on account portability, Tom Burkard on reading education and Kathy Gyngell on payment by results policy.

    But we haven’t reached the New Year yet and Christmas is upon us. This is a time not only for festive cheer but also to look back over our achievements and successes before we move into a new period with new goals. With that, here are some key successes of the Coalition, proposed here at the CPS, that we can be thankful for at the end of 2011.

    Increasing income tax personal allowance over this Parliament

    The Government has this year taken the first steps towards increasing the personal allowance to £10,000 in this Parliament. The £1,000 increase in the June budget and policy objectives of the Finance Bill 2011 laid the groundwork for this goal first set out by our Chairman Lord Saatchi and Peter Warburton in their 2001 CPS Pointmaker ‘Poor People! Stop Paying Tax!.

    Reducing corporation tax

    Another member of the CPS board, Lord Forsyth, has long argued for more competitive tax rates in the UK to stimulate a growth-friendly economy. In his CPS publication with Corin Taylor, Go For Growth: Cut Taxes Now to Cut Debt’ Lord Forsyth proposed cutting the rate of corporation tax to 20%. In this year’s budget, Chancellor George Osborne cut the rate to 23%, a great start for UK business and the businesses of the future that will see the UK as the number one choice to establish themselves.

    Of course, the CPS believes the government should build on this achievement and go further. Today’s piece from Charlie Elphicke arguesfor a cut to 15% for SMEs, as I have discussed previously Ireland’s hugely competitive rate of 12.5% is proving extremely attractive to some of the World’s largest companies, our Director Tim Knox proposed how the UK could take steps towards this to make the UK the natural home for these vital companies.

    Putting Transparency at the Heart of Government

    Liam Maxwell, author of CPS publication ‘It’s Ours: Why we, not the government, must own our data that argued for greater use of IT to allow the public to yield control of their personal information, was appointed to the Cabinet Office in 2011 to advise on the use of innovative new technology systems.

    Transparency of Public Finances

    Brooks Newmark MP argued in the CPS paper ‘The Hidden Debt Bombshell’ that official statistics should take account of the total liabilities of the banks which have been rescued, and the full cost of all measures that have been used in the financial crisis that broke in 2008. As he and Ryan Bourne pointed out in their 2011 update, this has now been implemented by the Office for Budget Responsibility, resulting in the UK Public Sector Net Debt (PSND) being revised upwards from £825bn to a more realistic £2,252bn.

    Planned Benefit Simplification

    CPS Research Fellow David Martin has been a long time advocate for benefit simplification, arguing in the 2009 paper Benefit simplification - How, and why, it must be donethat the complexity of the current benefits system in the UK reinforces the poverty trap, is inefficient, and unaccountable to democratic control. He proposed a number of fixes, most notably a ‘single form system’.

    Iain Duncan Smith is often commended for his work at the Department of Work and Pensions, and it is worth pointing out the strong work he is doing. The Universal Credit of the DWP is a sea change in the simplification of welfare.

    David writes for our Policy Resolutions series next week on business tax simplification on Boxing Day.

    Free Schools and Academy Extensions

    CPS Research Fellow Tom Burkard has consistently called for schools to be released from the burden of bureaucratic state control and in 2011 co-authored (with AK Burki) a CPS paper proposing a free school staffed entirely by ex-military teachers.

    Michael Gove’s quite but greatly transformative work at the Department of Education on free schools and academy extensions is to be lauded.

    Tom writes for our Policy Resolutions series next week on the importance of synthetic phonics in education.

    Here’s hoping that more of the CPS’ ideas will come to fruition in 2012. Merry Christmas, holidays and a Happy New Year to all our readers! 

    Lewis joined the Centre for Policy Studies in April 2011 with responsibility for social media and digital engagement.

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