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.
Often justified in terms of being “affordable” in a world where the current cost of government borrowing is extraordinarily low, advocating high levels of infrastructure spending is firmly in fashion.
The State Pension is facing fiscal calamity. Total spending on it has increased by 25% since 2010-11. Michael Johnson urges the Government to take action.
Labour’s plans on infrastructure, welfare, employment legislation, tuition fees and shale gas could cost every household nearly £17,500 in just one parliamentary term.
The recent publication of the Savings (Government Contributions) Bill confirmed that the Government intends to press ahead with the Lifetime ISA, to be launched in April 2017. This is welcomed.
The UK's strengths will mean that London continues to be Europe's leading financial services centre.
On 1 September the BBC TV licence fee will be extended to the iPlayer. The licence fee is however bad for the BBC and bad for customers and it should be abolished.
The Governmentâ€™s record in reducing dependency on the State is strong, but there is plenty more to do..
The UKâ€™s softening fiscal stance opens up the very real risk of a further loosening of monetary policy, whereby inflation is used as a way of dealing with the Governmentâ€™s debts.
Fully functioning, the pensions dashboard could become the ultimate disruptor of incumbent industry providers, but merely providing information will not embed the dashboard into the consciousness of the general public.
The OECD forecasts that the UK's GDP is expected to surpass Germany in the mid 2030s.