Press Release: Miliband should fix council tax, not go for mansion tax cash grab

Commenting on Ed Miliband’s expected announcement that will propose a mansion tax to further fund the NHS , the Adam Smith Institute’s Head of Policy, Ben Southwood, said:

Labour’s proposal to tax expensive houses and hypothecate the funds for the NHS is bizarre.

Although property value taxes are among the least inefficient taxes, and shifting the burden from costlier taxes like stamp duty land tax, corporation tax and income tax is a good idea, we already have a perfectly good property tax system: council tax.

The only problem with the council tax system is that, for political reasons, it has not been revalued since 1993, massively distorting the system. It makes no sense to create a whole new property tax system at an arbitrary £2m cutoff point: instead, council tax should be revalued and remodeled along more progressive lines, to reduce the tax burden on people in less expensive properties.

Instead of trying to grab more cash for central government, Ed Miliband should be focused on sorting out the massive distortions in the property tax system instead.

Notes to editors:

For further comments or to arrange an interview, contact Kate Andrews, Communications Manager, at / 07584 778207.

The Adam Smith Institute is an independent libertarian think tank based in London. It advocates classically liberal public policies to create a richer, freer world.

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Charlotte Bowyer argues Google’s internet dominance is the result of market choice in the CityAM Forum

The Adam Smith Institute’s Head of Digital Policy, Charlotte Bowyer, writes for the CityAM Forum: Is News Corp right that Google’s internet dominance is damaging?

Charlotte Bowyer, a digital policy researcher at the Adam Smith Institute, says No.

It’s true that Google’s size makes issues such as user privacy, data scraping and the make-up of its search algorithms a concern. However, this doesn’t, on balance, mean that Google’s dominance is a bad thing.

Its share of the search market was achieved against fierce competition, suggesting nothing more sinister than a superior service. It has also mastered the art of creating valuable, additional products from data that users are happy to provide. This allows it to offer deep, tailored and useful services which add value to our online experience.

And while presenting Google Maps at the top of a search result might reduce traffic to certain sites, it’s hard to see it as detrimental to users’ needs.

Indeed, many of the criticisms News Corp levels against Google stem from its own struggle to achieve a successful online business model. Issues of intellectual property shouldn’t be conflated with the question of market abuse.

Read the full article here.