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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.

Think Small - A blueprint for supporting UK small businesses

Think Small - A blueprint for supporting UK small businesses

Nick King - Tax

‘Think Small’ is a new report which looks to make life a lot easier for small companies. It is authored by Nick King, Head of Business at the Centre for Policy Studies. The report calls for the Government to adopt an emblematic policy to champion small and family businesses: the Simple Consolidated Tax.

A Budget for No Deal

A Budget for No Deal

Centre for Policy Studies - Economy

The British Government and the EU insist they do not want a "no-deal" Brexit, yet it remains a possibility. That is why we have set out measures the Chancellor should consider in a no-deal scenario.

The Truth About Britain's Railways

The Truth About Britain's Railways

Conor Walsh -

The New Year brings the traditional grumbling about the cost of train fares - especially since punctuality has fallen to its lowest level since 2005. Yet new CPS analysis suggests that Britain's rail network is in better shape than many people realise.

All Hands on Deck

All Hands on Deck

Guy Opperman MP and Laura Farris - Economy

Businesses and employers can and should do more to help close Britain’s productivity gap. Guy Opperman MP suggests Britain businesses should follow the example of US firms who found high employee engagement was reflected in at least a 20% boost to productivity and profitability.

Make Work Pay

Make Work Pay

Tom Clougherty - Tax

'Make Work Pay' puts forward major proposals to reshape the tax system around a simple principle: to make work pay. One key proposal is to raising National Insurance threshold to create a universal working income, free of income tax and National Insurance.

From Rent to Own

From Rent to Own

Alex Morton - Housing

The UK needs an ownership revolution. 'From Rent to Own' proposes that for a single year, the Government should turn the Capital Gains Tax payable by a landlord on sale of a rented home into a rebate shared between landlord and tenant.

Five Proposals for Savings Reform

Five Proposals for Savings Reform

Michael Johnson - Pensions

The complexity, cost, and inflexibility of the pensions system, combined with widespread distrust of the pensions industry, is putting basic rate taxpayers off saving for their futures. Michael Johnson puts forward 5 reforms to turn the tide on Britain's saving habits.

Down with Deposits: The Case for Rental Insurance

Down with Deposits: The Case for Rental Insurance

Brian Sturgess - Housing

Up-front deposits mean renters lose out on accruing interest on their money, which they can also struggle to get back. A deposit replacement insurance system would insure landlords against damage or missed rent while allowing tenants to avoid borrowing.

A Risk Too Far

A Risk Too Far

Michael Johnson - Pensions

Royal Mail plans to offers its employees a Collective Defined Contribution (CDC) pensions scheme risk undermining recently-gained pensions freedoms and creating irreversible intergenerational injustice for members.

Why the health of the NHS depends on growth and reform

Why the health of the NHS depends on growth and reform

Centre for Policy Studies - Health

CPS cautions against increased NHS spending following analysis which shows that such extra spending has an alarming tendency to go hand in hand with greater waste.

Mission Accomplished?

Mission Accomplished?

Robert Colvile and Daniel Mahoney - Economy

Robert Colvile and Daniel Mahoney warn Philip Hammond not let recent economic figures tempt him into ending austerity, the Chancellor has no room for complacency.

The Cost of Nationalisation

The Cost of Nationalisation

Daniel Mahoney - Economy

Labour's nationalisation agenda could cost the government £176bn, or £6,500 for every household, concludes research by the Centre for Policy Studies.

Budget 2017: The CPS Verdict

Budget 2017: The CPS Verdict

Daniel Mahoney - Politics

The Chancellor's Autumn Budget was overshadowed by the GDP growth forecasts being revised down. Hammond did well to avoid a spending splurge but there was a disappointing lack of action of housing or productivity.

The Great Productivity Squeeze

The Great Productivity Squeeze

Daniel Mahoney - Public Services

The British economy is beset by poor productivity - and it is about to start putting a real squeeze on growth. Its effects have been cushioned by high employment, but with few workers left to add to the Labour market, the only way to boost GDP is to improve productivity. With his deficit target under threat from productivity downgrades, the Budget represents the Chancellor's best chance to tackle the problem.

Why Britain Needs More Robots

Why Britain Needs More Robots

Daniel Mahoney - Manufacturing

The Labour Party is wrong to argue against increasing mechanisation. It would impede productivity growth, depress wage growth, and encourage economic activity to relocate.