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.
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' 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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Labour's nationalisation agenda could cost the government £176bn, or £6,500 for every household, concludes research by the Centre for Policy Studies.
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 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.
The Labour Party is wrong to argue against increasing mechanisation. It would impede productivity growth, depress wage growth, and encourage economic activity to relocate.
The Liberal Democrats insisted the triple lock for state pensions form part of the Coalition Agreement in 2010. Since then welfare spending on pensioners has gone up by 10% but down 5% for working households, driving young voters towards Labour.
The proposed changes to the tuition fees system could lead to higher write-offs and a financial time bomb for taxpayers, concludes a new report by Michael Johnson.
The election has brought into focus the issue of inter-generational fairness and Labour's solution is abolishing tuition fees. Daniel Mahoney argues that is regressive and benefits wealthy graduates most.