Dr Eamonn Butler

Eamonn Butler is director of the Adam Smith Institute. He is the author of books on the pioneering economists Milton Friedman, F.A. Hayek, Ludwig von Mises and Adam Smith, and co-author of Forty Centuries of Wage and Price Controls and books on intelligence testing. He has degrees in economics, philosophy and psychology, gaining a PhD from the University of St Andrews in 1978.

Pensions: Chancellor has taken the first step on a long road to reform

Written by | Thursday 20 March 2014

The Chancellor's Budget decision to treat pension savers as responsible adults and let them choose how to spend or invest their own pension pots on retirement – instead of being forced to convert them into annuities (or follow hugely complicated drawdown rules) – is surely welcome. But our pension system is such a mess that there is a lot more work to do.

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Deregulate banks for more competition

Written by | Monday 20 January 2014

Sometimes politicians don't know how powerful they are. The UK Labour leader Ed Miliband, for instance, seems able to cause the London Stock Exchange to plummet just by speaking. First he promised price caps on energy companies, and their shares reeled. Then last week he promised to break up the banks, whereupon billions were wiped off their value.

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The twelve days of state bureaucracy: 8-12

Written by | Monday 6 January 2014

Day 8

Dearest Grandmama, eight noise abatement officers arrived saying that the noise of my neighbours' protest and the various inspectors' cars coming and going was in clear breach of official guidelines. They served me a compliance notice. I will write more tomorrow.

Day 9

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The twelve days of state bureaucracy: 4-7

Written by | Monday 30 December 2013

Day 4

Dearest Grandmama, four Environment Agency officers came round today and said the pear tree was unsafe as it might blow down in a gale. No gales are forecast, but they still say it has to be fenced-off or removed immediately. So we had some builders round to erect a sturdy fence. I will write more tomorrow.

Day 5

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The twelve days of state bureaucracy: 1-3

Written by | Thursday 26 December 2013

Day 1

Dearest Grandmama, we're having a lovely Christmas here at Green Acres, and thank you so much for the wonderful present we opened today, a partridge in a pear tree. I planted the tree and the partridge looks very happy perched in it. I will write more tomorrow.

Day 2

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Is the NHS really the kind of health service we want?

Written by | Friday 26 July 2013

Half of Britain's family doctors, according to a survey this week, now believe that their patients should be charged to see them. Their workload, they complain, has become 'unmanageable', their waiting rooms clogged up by people who have very minor ailments and do not need to be there.

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Tax Freedom Day is on the 30th of May

Written by | Sunday 12 May 2013

I can't wait. Tax Freedom Day is just three weeks away. Add up all the taxes paid by people in the UK – income tax, national insurance, VAT, fuel duty, taxes on alcohol and tobacco, council tax and all the rest. Then work out how long it takes us to earn enough to pay for all these taxes. Then you find that in 2013 the average UK citizen will be forced to hand over to the government everything they earn between New Year's Day and 30th May!

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Where is this "austerity" you speak of?

Written by | Wednesday 1 May 2013

"What austerity?" asks the super-sound UK economic commentator Liam Halligan in the Telegraph.  GDP is down to be sure (6.2% below its pre-crisis peak), and we members of the public are indeed tightening our belts. Not so government. It's belt-tightening amounts to just 2.7% "cuts" over six years. That's after previous Chancellor/PM Gordon Brown expanded government spending by half, from 35% to 50% of GDP. Some "austerity" from our politicians!

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Fracking: compensate locals, not councils

Written by | Tuesday 30 April 2013

Ministers are exploring various proposals to encourage local residents to accept fracking projects, reports the Financial Times. The ideas including offering people cheaper household energy.

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Universal credit and the poor

Written by | Monday 29 April 2013

Today Britain gets a new welfare system. Well, one tiny part of Britain near Manchester, focused around a single job centre. It is the new Universal Credit system, the brainchild of Welfare Secretary Iain Duncan Smith, who has been thinking about such moves for over a decade.

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