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.
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.
The early response to automatic enrolment has been positive but the government can still do more to encourage saving, especially for the young and the self-employed.
Recent calls to lift the public sector pay cap have been gaining traction but Mahoney and Knox argue this mustn't be funded through higher taxes or further borrowing.
The General Election showed a huge inter-generational divide with Corbyn's Labour being more popular than the Conservatives up to age 49. How should the Conservatives respond?
CPS responses to the three centrepiece "revenue raisers" from the Labour manifesto
Michael Johnson outlines some reforms to pensions and savings that political parties should consider while writing their General Election manifestos.
Corporation tax cuts have had a positive impact but Labour have threatened to reverse them
The 2015 liberalisation of pensions was welcome but the risk management is needed.Michael Johnson proposes "auto-protection" at private pension age.
The Chancellor made the right decision not to splash the cash at the Spring Budget
Proposals to help ordinary working families that won't break the bank for the Chancellor